Social upheaval. Dramatic advancements in science. And a sudden, rapid increase in the availability of information.
These may sound like modern issues. But the sometimes disconcerting developments were also hallmarks of the Protestant Reformation, a social movement that dates back five centuries — and continues to impact Western economies, political and legal systems, and ideas about morality and marriage.
This fall, Bucknell will examine the connection between past and present with The Reformation, After 500 Years: Religion, Society, Music, Ethics. The semester-long, interdisciplinary event will "explore the long-term macro effects" of an era in Europe marked by religious reforms, the rise of nation-states, global exploration, scientific discovery and the development of capitalism, according to Professor Jay Goodale, history.
"We're not summarizing the Reformation as a historical moment, but examining it as something that continues to have a powerful, lingering influence," said Goodale, who spearheaded the series, which is sponsored by the offices of the president and provost; the Comparative Humanities Program; and the departments of economics, history, music, philosophy, religious studies, sociology & anthropology, and languages, cultures & linguistics.
Beginning Sept. 14, the series will include lectures by visiting scholars on civil religion, disruption and ethics in the Reformation, as well as three musical performances representing different phases of the period. The Bucknell Camerata will present Repertoire of the English Reformation, highlighting music in the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Guest artists will perform Music of the Counter-Reformation. And the University Choir & Camerata will present Reform/Revolt, featuring Bach's Reformation Cantata, "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," and songs of revolution and reform from around the world.
"People from across the globe have used music to shape their reform, revolution and resistance for centuries," said Beth Willer, music professor and director of choral activities. "We will present works from South Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, Estonia, India, Egypt and the U.S. — music of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, indigenous, nationalist and secular origin. In all cases, it is music that results from courage and a desire to make change in the world."
All events are open to the public, and Goodale noted that modern audiences should relate to the themes of disruption and chaos that will be explored throughout the semester.
"The disruptions engendered by the development of capitalism, nation-state formation, the discovery of the New World and Copernican cosmology forced people to rethink religion and religious practices, and all these changes, including the Reformation itself, were terrifying," he said. "Looking back years from now, people will say that automation, technology and globalization are great. But for those of us going through the changes, it can be unnerving."
Visit the complete schedule of events for details on lectures and performances.