More than a Feeling: We’re Loving this Honors Symposium

Some merry mischief was afoot during the first three weeks of this semester’s Honors Program class Love, taught by Dr. Linda Dove of the Writing Department, which explores one of the most powerful forces in human life. Guest faculty rotate into the class nearly weekly to offer their own perspectives from the fields of philosophy, psychology, architecture and design, film, fashion, art history, and urban studies. Starting with a close read of Plato’s Symposium—a text based on a famous Athenian party in 416 B.C. where a debate about the true definition of love takes place—the class then met with philosopher Dr. Rossen Ventzislavov, who discussed Socrates’s definition in the text, challenging students to think about love as more than a feeling, since feelings are merely “symptomatic” of love.

The third week studying the text involved creating a class Symposium, complete with costumes, definitions of love shared on the board, an ivy crown for the “winner,” and a buffet of figs, dates, goat cheese, lavash breads, honey pavlova, and sparkling ciders to simulate the Greek fare of the original feast. Definitions varied from “love is selflessness” (Taylor Ramcharitar) to “love is introspection” (Jeremy Barretta) to “love is mutual effort” (Jacob Abraham) to “love is a consensual fiction” (Professor Ventzislavov). Some of the students dressed up to match their definitions—Dara Levardo came dressed in a top of mirrored fabric with mirrored discs swinging from her ears to match her definition that “love is a mirror,” and Jahruneel Rai dressed up in a swirl of gold silk and a multi-tiered necklace of pearls and gold to represent her idea that “love is long-lasting,” since, in her culture, gold is passed down as a sign of intergenerational love and caretaking. Professor Dove dressed as Agathon, the original host of Plato’s Symposium, who wore gilded laurel leaves (the sign of a poet) around his head.

Enjoy these pictures of the festivities!

Last Updated February 13, 2024

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