[CUA Office of Public Affairs]


Sept. 15, 2005


CUA Welcomes Cultural Scholars From Around the World

Ten-Week Seminar Examines Usage and Meaning of Symbolism Among Various Cultures


Ten scholars from around the world have arrived at The Catholic University of America to participate in a 10-week seminar addressing symbolism and its role in establishing cultural identities and values.


Titled “Symbols in Cultures and Identities in a Time of Global Interaction,” the seminar runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 10 and is co-sponsored by the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy and CUA’s Center for the Study of Culture and Values.


Themes include ethnic, national and religious symbolism. The seminar also will address the ideological manipulation of symbols and their role in cross-cultural and interreligious dialogue.


“In trying to define a culture, our words are always insufficient,” says Rev. George F. McLean, professor emeritus of philosophy and CSCV director. “But a picture of the Taj Mahal, for example, can explain a lot about India. A couple of symbols can say almost everything about a culture.”


Participants in the seminar hail from 10 countries across North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, East Asia and Africa. Their areas of expertise cover an array of academic disciplines including philosophy, theology, political science, economics and English language and literature.

”Years ago we tried to approach everything scientifically, but how does one treat Islam, for example, as a science?” asks McLean, whose center is devoted to promoting dialogue and cooperation between people of different cultures and religions. “Islam is a growing, complex dynamic, but it can be wholly expressed through symbols. We’re trying to incorporate a new way of thinking for new times.”


MEDIA: For more information about the seminar or to request an interview with Rev. George F. McLean, contact Chris Harrison or Katie Lee at 202-319-5600.



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The Center for the Study of Culture and Values at The Catholic University of America is dedicated to promoting and publishing books that apply cultural heritage studies to contemporary global interchange. Established in 1977 and fully incorporated with the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, the center mobilizes and unites international academic groups and research teams specializing in cultural heritage and values. CSCV has published more than 150 books and hosts an annual 10-week interdisciplinary seminar at CUA, bringing together philosophers, scholars and opinion leaders from around the world.






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Revised: 9/15/2005

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The Catholic University of America,
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