Past Event

Café Society: Initiation Rituals--Rites or Wrongs?

Being dragged out of bed before the sun has woken up to run around the football field in your underwear, weeklong trials of strength and endurance with a ration of one MRE per day, holding your partner’s hand as you declare your love for one another in the company of friends and family–many of us have taken part in rite of passage at some point in our lives.

Usually practiced when being initiated into social, athletic, and civic organizations, in a religious ritual or as ceremony honoring the passage into another stage of life, rites of passage are a defining part of any culture. Why do we engage in such rituals? What are the goals? Why is it that power so often plays a central role in these ceremonies? Do these rituals have an intrinsic value to the group as a whole? How do these rituals affect someone’s concept of self? What do the initiates receive in return?

While some are purely celebratory in nature, others can be quite cruel. What is gained by using humiliation or verbal and physical abuse as part of such a ritual?

Join us this week at Café Society to explore rites of passage.

Suggested Readings:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.