Through the generous support of Mr. Robert Thimmesh who graduated from Saint John's Preparatory School in 1955 and attended Saint John's University from 1955-1957, Project Logos aims to encourage collaborative and cross-disciplinary conversations that result in collaborative and cross-disciplinary writing. One value of a liberal arts college, he believes and Project Logos trumpets, is its ability to gather people from various disciplines to talk about their common interests and bringing to bear their different perspectives.
Project Logos maintains that academic disciplines are not separate bodies of knowledge, but different sets of questions, different methods of inquiry, different ways of understanding. A theologian, historian, economist, physicist, and artist might, for example, each be interested in studying the Saint John's Abbey Church. The theologian might ask what the church says about Catholicism or about monasticism or about the members' belief structures. The historian could ask why the church built as it was in 1961, what trends in American society it reflects. The physicist might explore the nature of balance and counterbalance and what makes the bell banner stand up. The artist might ask how the church's design fits into the history of architecture and the rise of a "modern" aesthetic. The Church, then, becomes even richer in meaning and intellectual texture when these - and other disciplines - talk to each other.
When the questions of the various disciplines come together and when we talk to each other from our different perspectives, all of us - faculty and students and others - benefit. We learn how to see anew and to understand with more depth and nuance. This expanded vision is a primary ambition of Project Logos.
The Project also supports the idea that academics know much that our society needs and needs to know. While many academics for good reasons write specifically for others in their own fields, Project Logos encourages scholars to write for larger academic and wider public audiences.
Project Logos facilitates these discussions by organizing bi-annual conferences on a single topic in which a wide range of faculty members, scholars, writers, teachers, and members of the public participate.
The State We're In focused on Minnesota at its Sesquicentennial of Statehood. For three days over 100 people came together to present their scholarship, to discuss issues of common interest, to explore a wealth of topics. See a copy of the program.
A hallmark of a Project Logos conference is that it concludes with a two-day writing retreat. All participants are invited to stay on, are offered quiet and a "room of one's own," as well as the company of other writers to revise, rethink, rewrite their own work for publication.
"The State We're In: Minnesota at 150," a collection of proceedings of Logos I will be published in 2010 by the Minnesota History Society Press. See Table of Contents.
This conference will take up the topic of Happiness. Few issues have attracted as much scholarly and popular attention in the last decade as this one. Project Logos will be hosting its Happiness Symposium at Saint John's University September 9 - 10, 2011.
Project Logos also organizes interdisciplinary reading groups. In anticipation of the Logos II, Project Logos is supporting groups in 2009-2010 that are reading Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, Christopher Jamison, Finding Happiness, Robert Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, and James Farrell, One Nation Under Goods: Malls and the Seductions of American Shopping.
Project Logos, in addition, provides material for all interested faculty members who would like to involve their students.
Faculty and students of Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict are invited to participate in Project Logos activities. Especially for the conferences, Project Logos actively recruits and welcomes participants from other colleges and universities as well as from the general public.