Rehumanize yourself

Aleasha Hintz—Staff Writer 

On Monday, Dec. 6, Dordt University faculty and students gathered at Sidebar for a variety show in celebration of the humanities. That evening, professors and students presented their research and writings in an informal environment. 

“[Rehumanize Yourself] was an opportunity to share these things with each other in a way that [was] way more interesting,” Luke Hawley, English professor and host of the event, said. 

In addition to Hawley, philosophy adjunct Laremy De Vries also thought up the event, inspired by Makoto Fujimara, an American artist. When Dordt hosted Fujimara, his work impacted De Vries.

Fujimara wanted it to be “a rehumanizing space. He turned it into a brand,” De Vries said.

Hannah Vanderhooft, the student government senator for the humanities department and one of the organizers of the event said, “Interacting with the humanities is important because it allows you to interact with different cultures, worldviews, and ideas. You get to gain an understanding of someone else.”

The variety show began with a bit that Hawley called “Explain it to me like I’m five.” In this skit, theology professor David Westfall tackled the topic of salvation, how modern Christians tend to interpret it, and more. He gathered the content from his own dissertation on the topic. 

The second side show of the night took the form of another interview. Here, interviewer Sarah Halwey and interviewee and Spanish professor Rikke Brons discussed their time growing up in Germany. 

Brons grew up in East Germany and was eight years old when the Berlin wall fell down, while Hawley lived in Germany after the wall came down. The interview tackled topics such as community, society’s skewed priorities, the reality of living in East Germany, and the culture shock that Brons experienced when she moved to America. 

Rehumanize Yourself was not just for professors, though. In the third side show, seniors Zach VanderLey and Sam Landstra read their published poetry. The poems discussed topics such as propinquity (the title of VanderLey’s poem) tradition, handshakes, and even football. The bar filled with the gentle pitter patter of fingers that snapped after each reading.

Also featured in the third side show were essays written by English professor Howard Schaap, titled “Prayer Bouquet.” The essays are an excerpt from Schaap’s work in progress memoir, though it is yet to be published. They contain intimate moments between father and son and discuss the topic of faith and prayer.

The fourth and final show was interactive. Here, audience members were given scraps of paper on which they could write questions for philosophy professor Mark Tazelaar. This segment modeled itself after Dear Abby, a popular newspaper column. The show was not a complete rip off, though, as it had its own jingle, created by Laremy De Vries.

“If you’re feeling like a spaz, call 1-800-TALKTOTAZ!”

At one point, Tazelaar remembered an artwork from a previous studeny. The piece, titled The Burden, depicted the screaming, contorted faces in the depths of hell. 

To this, Tazelaar said, “Is it really that bad to be a philosopher?”

At this, laughter filled the small bar. The audience kept a lively spirit throughout the night, sharing jabs at one another and heckling the speakers.

“We’re hoping to continue doing this in the future,” Vanderhooft said, “and continue to bring the different Humanities departments, faculty, and students together.” 

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