Although the word “unprecedented” seems stuck on repeat this year, four Westmont professors know pandemics are nothing new in human history.
This is discussed in a pre-recorded lecture published online at 10 a.m. today at westmont.edu/library.
“These are really difficult days, and everyday it seems to be getting more difficult, but these challenges are pretty typical in human history,” art history professor Dr. Lisa DeBoer said. “It’s a reminder that we’re not alone in our distress and our humanity.”
Her portion of the presentation focuses on Western European art from the 1500s and 1600s. She hopes listeners will learn about the human experience through the selections.
Dr. Helen Rhee, professor of history of Christianity, addresses ancient church practices in caring for the sick.
“The pandemic reveals the burden of love,” she said. “Christians should be really faithful in listening to the guidelines of the health organizations. Following the guidelines is the greatest way to care for the ones we love instead of infecting the sick.”
Her talk gives implications for modern-day Christians.
Dr. Marilyn McEntyre hopes her talk will also contextualize today’s issues. She looks at the literary works produced in past pandemics.
“I hope it will help put this pandemic in historical context, but I hope they’ll see the long history of stories that come out of public health crises,” she said.
Dr. Paul Willis, a professor of English and former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate, reads five poems and comments on each for his contribution.
“Poetry occupies a halfway place between an essay and instrumental music,” he said. “It says something but pays attention to the sound of words.”
The four portions come together for a presentation true to Westmont’s liberal arts education.