National Writing Contest (select one) — for students in the US
- How should crimes be punished in the ideal society, and should they be at all? What is the purpose of “punishment” — an act of enforcing individual justice, or of maintaining the cohesion of the broader society? You may relate your argument to history or current legal systems as well if you would like. (Below is a scenario that might inspire you along this line of thinking.)
You have been accused of a high-profile crime, but you have no memory whatsoever of the time you supposedly committed it. Moreover, none of your friends or family believe it is possible that you could have done it because they know you to be a very good person. Supposing that you did actually do the crime, should your punishment be any less?
- Write about an idea that is impossible for humans to understand or a problem that is impossible for us to solve.
International Writing Contest (select one) — for students outside the US
- Why do we laugh? Can all the causes of laughter, varying from dark humor, to simple gags, to tickling, all be explained by one theory? In whatever sense you take it, what is the purpose of laughter?
- Can violence be justified to achieve political ends? If so, why, and to what extent can it be used?
Writing Open Call — for all students
- Write whatever you want!
Remember, your submissions for the writing contests or open call can be in whatever form you want: reflection, short story, poem, dialogue, letter, or whatever else you can think of! Feel free to take the prompts in whatever way you are inspired to!
Art Contest — for all students
- Many artists use abstract or surreal art forms in order to express philosophical ideas, moving beyond the boundaries of reality. Make a piece of art that does this. (Below are two ideas that might inspire you on this theme.) French writer André Breton: "The purpose of surrealism is to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, or super-reality."
Vietnamese monk Thích Nhất Hạnh: "The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself."
Art Open Call — for all students
- Make whatever you want!
Cover Contest — for all students
- For this year's cover contest, draw two abstract representations of non-mammal animals. Other than this guideline, be as creative as you want. Preferred width-to-height ratio is 2 : 3.
All submissions are due on January 20th, 2020.
- For writing, please share a Google Doc with firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not forget to put a title and write out your full name as you want it to appear (or say that you would like it to be published anonymously).
- For art, if it is digital please send an email with the file to email@example.com, or for CSS students you can also give physical art to Prof. Beletsky, Theo Frye Yanos, or Amogh Dimri in person, or put it in Prof. Beletsky’s mailbox.
Don’t forget to credit any inspirations or inclusions of other works in your submission!
All submissions should be mostly in English. If any translating help is needed, please contact us.
Any further questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (we do check it).