What is WUmester?

WUmester is intended to foster a university-wide conversation on a topic related to social justice that will change each spring semester. The goal of the program is to engage the entire WU community in a cross-disciplinary learning experience on timely subjects and help students see the connections between the subjects they study in the classroom and real-world debates and problems.

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The Spring 2022 Topic

TRUTH

“Truth” has a variety of meanings, but the most common definitions refer to the property of being in accord with fact or reality. In other words, truth is often considered the opposite of falsehood. Defining truth, however, is complicated by the fact that we live in a world that is partly natural and partly invented. “The earth rotates around the sun” is a true account of a natural phenomenon, but “the earth rotates around the sun every 24 hours” is only true in societies that impose that system of time measurement. The social roles we inhabit and our personal identities and experiences further complicate what we accept as “true.” How do power and privilege shape who gets to make truth claims? What forces affect which “truths” are heard and believed, and which are hidden, ignored, or discredited? Are there different ways of knowing the truth and different perspectives from which to know it? What happens when people living in a society together—especially a multicultural democracy—do not agree on what is true?

Goals of WUmester 2022

WUmester 2022 will examine the concept of truth from the perspectives of academic disciplines across campus and through a variety of co-curricular programming. It will consider how truth, knowledge, and belief shape the world we live in and the power structures that influence how we come into relation with truth. Ultimately, it will support Washburn’s goal of promoting productive and responsible citizenship by encouraging members of our community to speak truth to power and become more discerning consumers, seekers, and interpreters of information.

 

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