Silence, Suffering, and the Way of Beauty

Date & Time

Thu, April 11, 2019
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM


Hall of Flags, Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania

3417 Spruce Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104


The Collegium Institute presents: Silence, Suffering and the Way of Beauty: An Evening Conversation with Makoto Fujimura.

“I write this in my red barn studio…The nihonga process, which flows out of a thousand-year refinement, overlaps as a metaphor for the journey of faith that is refining me. Malachite and azurite are strikingly beautiful in the form of rock, but to use them for nihonga one must pulverize them, shatter them into small, prismatic pieces. They are to be layered, sometimes over sixty layers, to create a refractive surface. It is a laborious, slow process — I like to call nihonga ‘slow art.’ The layers take time to dry, and in the act of waiting an image is revealed.”

Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel Silence — a narrative of suffering, religious persecution and divine silence set in 17th century Japan took visual artist Makoto Fujimura on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain, and his own cultural heritage. His artistic faith journey overlaps with Endo’s as he uncovers deep layers of meaning in Japanese history and literature, expressed in art both past and present. Fujimura, much like Endo, feels caught between two worlds, East and West, conversant with both, though not fully at home in either. Beauty and death, honor and shame, pain and stoicism, ritualism and disbelief — Fujimura has lived with these ambiguous Japanese pairings and his work seeks to untangle them. Melding the ancient nihonga technique with his preferred medium of abstract expressionism, Fujimura believes that art can heal as well as disturb, and he refuses to abandon the ideal of beauty. Ultimately he seeks to find connections to how faith is lived amid trauma and glimpses of how the gospel is conveyed in Christ-hidden cultures.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Year of Why, the Chaplain’s Office, SPARC: The Spiritual and Religious Life Center, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and Christian Union.

*Reception to follow*


Existential Scarcity

A Philosophy of Finance Lecture

Debt & Ideals of ‘Natural Reproduction

Date & Time

Fri, March 22, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM


Huntsman Hall 340

University of Pennsylvania


The Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture presented a special Philosophy of Finance lecture featuring Professor Devin Singh, Assistant Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College, on March 22, 2019.

The lecture explored how understandings of debt and interest are bound up with assumptions about what counts as reproduction, and how both interest and reproduction reflect anxieties about the scarcity of life and resources. Drawing on alternative labor theories, Professor Singh examined what it means to say that money works to produce more of itself, and whether recent anti-work interventions offer productive insights for reining in the proliferation of debt. Ultimately, a reconsideration of the centrality of productive labor to human identity may provide resources for challenging the centrality of productive, debt-based finance to our economic imaginations.

Professor Singh’s keynote was followed by responses from Prof. Andrew Lamas, Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. John Buchmann of the Collegium Institute, moderated by Dr. Isabel Perera, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

This event was co-sponsored by the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS), the department of Religious Studies, the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, the Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) department, and the Urban Studies Program.

Announcement: John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow and the James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society

March 11, 2019
The University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) and College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) are very pleased to announce the apppointment of the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow and the James N. Perry Scholar of Philosophy, Politics, and Society.  
Dr. Janice Tzuling Chik, presently an assistant professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University, has been appointed to serve as the John and Daria Barry Foundation Fellow for Academic Year 2019-2020.  Dr. John Peter DiIulio (C’12), presently the Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University, has been appointed to serve as the James N. Perry Scholar for the next three academic years.  
Dr. Chik earned her Ph.D in Philosophy at the University of Saint Andrews and was a Visiting Research Scholar at Oxford University.  Dr. DiIulio earned his Ph.D  in Political Science at Princeton University, where he has been a Fellow of both the James Madison Program in American Ideals & Institutions and the University Center for Human Values.  Dr. Chik is presently working on a book with the (tentative) title “The Unity of Action: A Metaphysics of Agency.”  Dr. DiIulio is presently working on a book with the (tentative) title “Liberal Sentiments: A Unified Ethical, Moral, and Political Theory of John Stuart Mill.”  
Last year, through the support and generosity of Mr. James N. Perry (C’82), a member of the Penn School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers, and Dr. Matthew O’Brien of the Collegium Institute, and through a collaboration between the Penn Department of Philosophy and PRRUCS, the archive of G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe was transferred to the Penn Library’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, where it will be housed and studied through June 2022.  
Anscombe (1919-2001), an analytic philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, was part of the famous Oxford University scholarly circle that included Phillipa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch, and served as an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Penn (1968-1980). 
Along with PRRUCS-supported Philosophy Department Scholars, over the next several years the Barry Fellow and the Perry Scholar will dedicate substantial portions of their time to research, writing, events, and symposia related to the Collegium Institute Anscombe Archive at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Perry Scholar will also teach several LPS courses.   
See the PRRUCS announcement at: