National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 7:1, Spring/Summer 2006. Copyright © 2006 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


In “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision,” Adrienne Rich—American poet, feminist, and social critic—expressed exhilaration and confusion in being alive “in a time of awakening consciousness” (18). Self-knowledge, Rich emphasized, eludes us until we recognize and question the basic assumptions that shape our perspectives. Re-visioning is an important part of this process. For Rich, re-visioning is not the meticulous correcting of our comma splices and dangling modifiers but “the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction” (18). The task Rich set before herself is not just the work of a feminist poet in the 1970s but an appropriate intellectual challenge for honors students in any decade. Interdisciplinary honors seminars should encourage students to move beyond the platitudes and prejudices of the past and examine a variety of issues with fresh perspective.