Human Rights – 2008 – 2009 Annual Theme

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. “These rights are thought by many to be the ultimate foundation of human dignity, freedom, justice, and peace in the world.”
From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the famine in the Congo, the genocide in Darfur, to the injustices and inequities that plague our own country, issues regarding human rights affect us all. During 2008-2009, The Clarke Forum will explore these issues in a number of different contexts and from a variety of different perspectives. In particular, we plan to address torture, terrorism, racism, sexism, homophobia, immigration, human trafficking, health care, and the right to basic human needs, including food, clothing, and housing.

Jennifer Baumgardner

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Film Showing – “I Was Raped”

Baumgardner PosterMonday, October 27, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.

First cut showing of the documentary, followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

The “I Was Raped” Project highlights the prevalence of rape in our culture and the silence and shame that surrounds it. The goal of this project is to add nuance to the cultural conversation around rape as well as give rape survivors a voice. In the film, eight women and one man tell their rape stories.

Co-sponsored by Women’s Studies, Community Studies, Psychology, Anthropology, Office of the Dean of Students, and The Zatae Longsdorff Center for Women.

Topical Background
In the general population of the United States, rape statistics show that one out of every six women will be raped in her lifetime. On a typical college campus, one out of eight women will be raped during her time at school alone. However, the numbers of reported rapes are drastically lower than the numbers of actual rapes committed. Surveys show that an estimated sixty percent of all rape victims leave their assaults unreported. Victims are more likely to suffer from depression, alcohol abuse, post traumatic stress disorder and suicidal contemplation.
The “I was Raped Project” aims to interrupt the silence that pervades our culture regarding rape by featuring a documentary on the subject as well as a T-shirt with the words “I was Raped” printed on the front. The project affirms the power women attain by talking about their personal assaults and challenges everyone to discuss the societal issue at large.

About the Speaker
Writer and activist Jennifer Baumgardner is a leading advocate for women’s and girls’ issues who currently lives in New York City. She has recently authored two books: Abortion and Life in 2008 and Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics in 2007. Baumgardner’s “I had an Abortion” project featured a T-Shirt and a 2005 award winning documentary highlighting the real stories of women who underwent abortion procedure. As a co-author, she and Amy Richard have published the books Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism in 2005 and Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future in 2000.

Baumgardner was the youngest editor at Ms Magazine from 1993-1997. Throughout her career she has written for various
magazines and newspapers including Harper’s, The New York Times, and The Nation to Glamour and Elle. Various media programs, from the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to “All Things Considered”, have featured her work. Among her other accomplishments, Baumgardner co-founded Soapbox Inc., a feminist speaker’s bureau that represents a dozen feminist activists.

Dr. Joseph Taylor – "Joseph Priestley Award"

Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity

Joseph Taylor PosterTuesday, October 21, 2008
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7:30 p.m.

Pulsars are neutron stars — the extremely dense, strongly magnetized, rapidly spinning remnants of supernova explosions. They also appear to be nature’s most precise clocks. Discovery of the first orbiting pulsar opened a new subfield of astrophysics in which the relativistic nature of gravity is tested through precise comparisons of “pulsar time” with atomic time here on earth. Among other results, the experiments have demonstrated the existence of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of gravity.

About the Speaker
Dr. Joseph Taylor is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Princeton University. He is the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Dr. Taylor taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from 1968 to 1980, and since then in the Physics Department, Princeton University. From 1997 to 2003 he also served as Dean of the Faculty at Princeton. He earned a BA in physics, with honors, from Haverford College in 1963, and a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1968. His research is in radio astronomy, especially the study of pulsars and their applications to experimental gravitation.

Dr. Taylor is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has served on many Boards and advisory committees, such as the recent Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics, he has received numerous other prizes and awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Einstein Prize of the Albert Einstein Society, Bern, and the Wolf Prize in Physics.

Visit for more information about the Joseph Priestley Award and a listing of past recipients.
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David Stovall

Assistant Professor of Policy Studies in the College of Education and the

Department of African Studies, University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC)

Same Dynamics, New Directions: Centering Race, Class and Gender in Transformative Education

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.

Join us for “Continuing the Conversation”
Friday, October 1, 2008
HUB Side Room 206 – 12:30 p.m.

Why are many teacher training programs still reluctant to forefront the complexities of race, class, and gender in k-12 education? The discussion identifies a process that centers the preparation of teachers in an explicit investigation of race, class and gender in teaching. Within this discussion is a set of processes that colleges and universities can engage to begin an intentional commitment to transformative education.
David Stovall Poster
Topical Background
Critical race theory analyzes the roles of race/racism in daily life. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences have utilized this approach to name, analyze and work against the oppressive power of racism. In education, critical race theory has enabled educators to understand the dynamics of race/racism in the classroom and in the communities that schools serve. Critical race theory is “critical” in that it challenges conventional theories of race while working to create anti-racist practice.

As teachers exist in the contested space of schools, critical race theory operates on several fronts. The first is to allow teachers to develop a clearer picture of the political dimensions of education. Second, the construct allows teachers to rethink their practice from a critical perspective through the development of “critical pedagogies.” Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach that attempts to help students question and challenge controlling cultural assumptions and beliefs. Through this approach, teachers are able to facilitate the process of students becoming conscious of who they are in the world and the work it will take to change it.

About the Speaker
David Stovall received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001. He is an associate professor of educational policy studies and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research primarily focuses on four areas: critical race theory, concepts of social justice in education, the relationship between housing and education, and the relationship between schools and community stakeholders.

Dr. Stovall has been awarded with several honors including the Silver Circle Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Distinguished Service, Division G, by the American Educational Research Association. He spent the last three years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that addresses issues of social justice. He is also a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team and is involved with youth-centered community organizations in Chicago, New York and the Bay Area.
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Aishah Simmons

Award Winning Filmmaker

Film Showing: “No! The Rape Documentary”

Aishah Simmons PosterWednesday, October 15, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.

This groundbreaking documentary explores the international reality of rape and other forms of sexual assault through the first person testimonies, scholarship, spirituality, activism and cultural work of African Americans.

Topical Background

Every two minutes another person is subjected to sexual assault. In total, 17.7 million American women have been victims of rape or attempted rape. Through the ground-breaking work of Aishah Shahidah Simmons, more people than ever are becoming educated about these tragic facts.

No! The Rape Documentary is a film that explores the issue of rape on an international scale. Specifically, the film works to bring the prevalence of sexual violence in the African-American community to the forefront. Survivors, scholars and viewers alike have praised the film. Further, as a testament to the power and reach of the documentary, it has been seen in countries from Nepal to Brazil, Rwanda, and Hungary, crossing boundaries both physically and linguistically.

The issue of sexual abuse is especially pertinent in a college community, where college age women are 4 times more likely to be assaulted than women outside the 18 to 22 age group. On both a global and local scale, the film challenges readers to examine the values we subscribe to. No! The Rape Documentary is a work of great importance and a vital tool in the effort to end sexual violence.

About the Speaker
Aishah Shahidah Simmons is an award-winning African-American feminist lesbian who produces documentaries for television and film. In addition she is an author, international lecturer, and activist based in Philadelphia, PA.

In 1992, she founded AfroLez® Productions, an AfroLez®femcentric multimedia arts company committed to using the moving image (film), and the written and spoken word to address those issues which have a negative impact on marginalized and disenfranchised people. Through this production company, Simmons has produced Silence…Broken and In My Father’s House.

As a survivor of rape herself, Ms. Simmons works tirelessly to bring attention to those topics most often avoided, such as homophobia, gender, rape and race discrimination. Her passion and tenacity has garnered numerous awards, including the 2007 International Federation of Black Prides Award.

Isabel Franc, prize-winning lesbian novelist

Isabel Franc Poster

LGBT Rights in Spain: Writing and Social Change

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.

What role can the writer play in bringing about social change? Franc, who grew up during the repressive dictatorship of Franco, addresses this question in the context of Spain’s gay and lesbian movement.

Topical Background
From the end of the Spanish Civil war in 1939 until 1975, Generalissimo Francisco Franco governed Spain autocratically, based on nationalism and traditionalism. As part of an imposed national unity, Spanish was the only official language, even though other languages were widely used in certain regions of the country. Censorship controlled every aspect of culture. Dissidents and opponents of the regime were imprisoned or they simply disappeared. During his rule, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community was severely stifled. Not only was homosexuality illegal, but there were very few references to homosexuality in literature, cinema and music. Any references that did survive censorship were negative in tone. Despite this culture of oppression, a clandestine gay scene began to emerge in Barcelona in the 1960s.
Franco’s death in 1975 provided an impetus for drastic political and social change. Spain transitioned peacefully and relatively smoothly from totalitarian dictatorship to democratic constitutional monarchy, from extreme conservatism and nationalism to social cultural liberalism. Spain began to exhibit greater social tolerance as part of a larger cultural movement known as La Movida. Though discrimination still exists, particularly in rural areas, homosexuality and bisexuality are now largely accepted throughout the country. In 2005, Spain became one of six countries to legalize same-sex marriage. It is also the first country to give same-sex marriages the same legal rights as heterosexual marriages, including adoption privileges.

About the Speaker
Isabel Franc’s works range from novels to short stories and poetry. Her novel Entre todas las mujeres was a finalist for La Sonrisa Vertical award for an erotic narrative in 1992, and more recently, her thriller No me llamas cariño won the Shangay award for the best novel with a gay or lesbian theme. She has also published a lesbian crime fiction trilogy under the pseudonym Lola Van Guardia. Ms. Franc’s novels have been translated into French, Italian and Portuguese.
Her humorous style combines satire, parody and irony in a universe where women are the protagonists. Spanish newspaper El País lauds her writing: “She writes with sarcasm and tenderness in equal parts, about those who could have just stepped out of a Woody Allen film though their feet are firmly of an Almodovar ground.”

Related Readings
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Dikembe Mutombo

NBA all star with the Houston Rockets and human rights activist


Thursday, September 11, 2008
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium – 7:00 p.m.

Dikembe Mutombo, the center for the Houston Rockets in the NBA and a central figure in improving the quality of life for people in his birthplace, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will discuss human rights issues. Mutombo is chairman and president of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation Inc., which is dedicated to improving the lives of people of the Congo through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education.

Co-sponsored by American Studies, Sociology, History and Athletic Departments.

Debate: Should Pennsylvania Legalize Marijuana?

Allen St. Pierre,

Executive Director, NORML and the NORML Foundation

David Freed,

Cumberland County District Attorney

Professor Daniel Kenney,

Dickinson College, Moderator

Marijuana Poster
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Stern Center, Great Room – 7:00 p.m.

Thousands of Pennsylvanians each year are arrested for possessing and using marijuana. Does this policy of jailing marijuana users make any sense? What are the reasons for this policy? What are the reasons against it? Our panelists will debate these issues prior to a general question-and-answer period.

“Continuing the Conversation”
Stern Center, Room 102 – immediately following the debate

Topical Background
The debate concerning the legality or illegality of marijuana use has been going on for at least 70 years. However, Starting in the 1970s, twelve states (AK, CA, CO, ME, MN, NE, NV, NY, NC, OH and OR) began to decriminalize marijuana for personal use. Despite this trend, Pennsylvania continues to incarcerate and fine people convicted of possessing and distributing marijuana. Currently in the United States, more people are arrested per year for marijuana-related crimes than for all violent crimes.

Why is it that although the possession of obscene materials in one’s own home can’t be prosecuted, the private possession and use of marijuana are still subject to prosecution? Should Pennsylvania follow in the footsteps of states, such as California, that have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes? These are a few of the pressing issues surrounding the potential legalization of marijuana use.

Recent studies have shown that the topical use of cannabinoids may reduce the spread of MRSA – a disease that now results in more deaths annually in the United States than AIDS. On the other hand, in addition to the widely known respiratory problems associated with smoking, the Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that use of marijuana has been linked with depression, suicide and schizophrenia, especially among teenagers.

About the Speakers
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Foundation, has worked extensively to change the laws prohibiting cannabis in the United States. Mr. St. Pierre graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1989 where he received his bachelor of arts in Legal Studies. He has been involved in many debates and lectures in areas related to the illegality of marijuana, such as medical access to cannabis, drug education, and mandatory minimum sentencing. Before serving as executive director for the NORML Foundation, Mr. St. Pierre was NORML’s Communications Director and Deputy National Director.

David Freed has been Cumberland County’s District Attorney since December 2005. Prior to this position, Mr. Freed worked for five years as the First Assistant District Attorney for Cumberland County. Mr. Freed graduated cum laude from Washington and Lee University and received his J.D. from Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Mr. Freed has lectured on topics concerning law enforcement for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute. He is the Chairman of the Education and Training Committee of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives have asked Mr. Freed to testify on a variety of issues.

Professor Daniel Kenny, a visiting instructor of the Department of Political Science at Dickinson College, will moderate the debate.

Related Readings
2006 article regarding Pennsylvania Sentencing Alternatives that appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News and was reprinted in the Pennsylvania DA’s Association (PDAA) Newsletter Patriot Alternatives
2007 editorial counterpoint that appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot News and was reprinted in the PDAA Newsletter PDAA Newsletter
2008 opinion piece co authored with Lauren Cotter Brobson that appeared in the Carlisle Sentinel Carlisle Sentinel
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Drinking Age Debate

Legal Age 21 after 23 Years: Has it Worked? Is it Working?

Drinking Age Debate Poster
Thursday, March 6, 2008
7:00 p.m. – Holland Union Building, Social Hall

John McCardell, Founder and Director, Choose Responsibility
Chuck Hurley ’67, Chief Executive Officer, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Douglas Edlin, professor of political science, moderator

Link to NBC Nightly News Coverage of this program
Results from ballots passed out at the Drinking Age Debate Program:
57 People Voted for Lowering the Drinking Age to 18
28 People Voted for Keeping the Drinking Age at 21
(140 audience members – 85 ballots received)

The National Minimum Legal Drinking Age Act (NMLDA)has now been on the books for almost 24 years. During that time, we have had the opportunity to observe, measure, and experience its effects. Like most laws, the NMLDA has intended and unintended consequences. The purpose of this program is to explore those consequences in as serious, informed, dispassionate, and comprehensive a way possible, and to consider whether any change in the law, or any reorientation of public policy is warranted. This debate involves statistics, probabilities, charts, formulae, and tables. It also involves human lives. Every life lost to alcohol, in whatever setting, is lamentable, tragic. The goal of public policy is to create a safe environment. This debate will examine how effective the law has been in meeting these public policy criteria, and what Dickinson should be doing to address binge and underage drinking.
Sponsored by James ’78 and Niecy Chambers.

“Continuing the Conversation”

Following the program, a discussion will be held in HUB Side Rooms 202-203. Refreshments including “Mocktails” will be served.

Comments from “Weigh In on the Drinking Age”

Issue in Context
Twenty-three years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the National Minimum Legal Drinking Age Act (NMLDA) marking the United States’ status as a country with one of the highest minimum drinking ages in the world. The NMLDA required all U.S. states to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to twenty-one. Even though this law did not specifically legislate a minimum age for consumption per se, several states decided to extend the law to prohibit the use and consumption of alcohol by the age of 21. Today, several states allow underage drinking under specific circumstances, including the supervision of parents or during religious services.
Has the Minimum Legal Drinking Age law been effective? Some studies show that not only has the law not been effective but it has even been counter-productive. The State University System of Florida carried out a study on underage alcohol consumption and found that while the consumption of alcohol had decreased following the passage of the NMLDA, alcohol-related problems, such as binge drinking and alcoholism had increased significantly. On the other side of this issue, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) has reported that fatal crashes involving underage drivers have decreased over the years.
John McCardell, founder and president of Choose Responsibility, and opponents of the NMLDA law have stated that the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy not only because of its ineffectiveness but also because it has encouraged college students to conceal their alcohol consumption and engage in dangerous activities such as binge drinking, which causes at least 1,400 deaths per year. Chuck Hurley ’67, chief executive officer of MADD, has said, “Everything in science indicates that the drinking age didn’t cause binge drinking and will make it worse if it’s lowered.” Advocates of this law emphasize that the minimum drinking age saves lives each year by deterring underage alcohol consumption. “This is a choice a free society gets to make,” said Hurley in light of a 2007 Gallup Poll which showed that 77% of Americans are opposed to lowering the drinking age.
The original intention of the NMLDA was to reduce underage alcohol consumption and the legal and medical problems associated with it. The legislators’ reasoning twenty-three year ago was based on the belief that young people lacked the maturity and the ability to deal with alcohol safely and healthily. Where this limit should be set and its potential effectiveness as a prevention measure has been debated for some time.

About the Speakers
John McCardell, founder and president of Choose Responsibility, did his graduate work at Johns Hopkins University and received his doctorate in history from Harvard in 1976. Mr. McCardell was named president of Middlebury College in 1992. Previous to his appointment he also held several administrative and professorial positions at the college since 1976. In December 2006, John McCardell founded Choose Responsibility, a non-profit organization which stimulates public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and encourages consideration of policies to empower young adults ages 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about alcohol.

Chuck Hurley ’67, chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) served as the vice president of the Transportation Safety Group for the National Safety Council and as the executive director of the Council’s Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign. Mr. Hurley was recognized for his lifetime contribution to transportation safety with the prestigious J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In 1984, he strongly supported and assisted in MADD’s efforts to pass the National Minimum Legal Drinking Age (NMLDA) Act. In March 2005, Mr. Hurley joined MADD as its C.E.O., with more than 30 years of experience in highway safety. Chuck Hurley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. From 1968 to 1970, he served in the United States Navy as an intelligence officer in Taipei, Taiwan.

Professor Douglas Edlin, a member of the Department of Political Science at Dickinson College, will be moderating the debate.

Related Links Choose Responsibility Mothers Against Drunk Driving International Center for Alcohol Policies

“What Your College President Didn’t Tell You” By John McCardell, Jr.

Sister Helen Prejean

Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues

Sr. Helen Prejean poster
Thursday, October 4, 2007
7:00 p.m. – Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium

Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and Death of Innocents: Wrongful Executions. Sister Helen is a Southern storyteller who brings you on a journey and shares her experiences involved with her death penalty ministry while working with the poor. She is the author of Dead Man Walking and Death of Innocents: Wrongful Executions. Book signing to follow. Co-sponsored by The Legislative Initiative Against the Death Penalty, Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley, community service and religious life, and the religion, philosophy, and English departments.

Join us for a student-led discussion “Continuing the Conversation” to be held on Friday, October 5, 12:30 p.m. at The Clarke Forum. Bring a bag lunch.

Issue in Context
Since 1976, there have been 1,095 executions in the United States. The death penalty has been used as a form of punishment in America since the founding of the colonies as Europeans brought the practice with them to the New World. The methods of execution have evolved over the years from hanging, to the firing squad, the electric chair in 1890, the gas chamber in 1924, and finally to lethal injection in 1982. Although execution by lethal injection is now the most common means of execution in most states, all other methods are authorized in at least two states. For example, New Hampshire and Washington still authorize hanging as a means of execution if lethal injection cannot be administered or if the prisoner requests it. All methods of execution, including death by lethal injection, can cause severe pain to the condemned.

There are questions about the cruelty of the execution itself and the fairness and accuracy of the process that determines who receives the death penalty. Scholars have pointed out that the application of the death penalty is frequently arbitrary and is made on the basis of race, class, gender, and geography. For example, if a non-white person murders a white person, there is a far greater statistical chance that he or she will receive the death penalty than if a white person murders a non-white person. Also, poor people are unable to afford adequate representation and therefore often receive the death penalty due to mistakes or lack of effort on the part of their attorneys. Juries are also less likely to sentence a woman to death than a man who committed the same crime. Finally, a person convicted of murder is more likely to be sentenced to death in a southern state than in a northern state due to differences in regional attitudes.

There is currently a movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States as it has been done in Europe and many other parts of the world. The movement presents two main arguments. First, due to the physical and emotional pain experienced by prisoners and the fact that the state is taking lives, the death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment” and was therefore outlawed by the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Second, since the death penalty cannot be administered fairly and equally across the United States, it should be abolished in every state. Others calling for a moratorium on the death penalty raise a moral question: Is it ever right to take the life of another human being?

About the SpeakerSr. Helen Prejean
In 1981, Sister Helen Prejean moved to a housing project in St. Thomas, Louisiana with the purpose of helping the poor living in the area. A year later, Sister Helen was asked to become a pen pal of Elmo Patrick Sonnier, a death row inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. She became more than a pen pal to Mr. Sonnier as she signed on as his spiritual advisor and made personal visits to the prison. This first contact awakened her to the fallibilities and the immoral nature of the death penalty system in the United States.
Sister Helen then began her death penalty ministry, becoming spiritual advisor to other death row inmates and actively working to obtain a moratorium on the death penalty in the U.S. She has written two books, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States (1993) and Death of Innocents: Wrongful Executions (2004), which highlight the problems with the death penalty system. Dead Man Walking has received numerous honors including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and a number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for 31 weeks.
Along with her writings and lectures, Sister Helen works to achieve a moratorium on the death penalty through activist organizations. From 1985-1995, Sister Helen served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and chaired the board from 1993-1995. She currently works with Amnesty International and the Moratorium Campaign of which she is Honorary Chairperson.

Sister Helen also works to ease the suffering of the victim’s families through counseling. She founded the victim’s advocacy group “Survive” in New Orleans to serve this purpose.

Sister Helen joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille in 1957. She earned a BA in English and education from St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans in 1962 and an MA in religious education from St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada in 1973.

Related Links
Official Website of Sister Helen Prejean
Legislative Initiative Against the Death Penalty
Death Penalty Information Center
Website and personal blog of Sister Helen Prejean
University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center: The Death Penalty Debate
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Research Protection vs. Research Promotion

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Research Protection vs. Research Promotion
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Research Protection vs. Research Promotion

Issue in Context
The basis of all science lies in repeatable experiments that yield evidentiary results for or against a hypothesis. The only way to obtain relevant results about human response is to utilize human subjects in the experiment. However, doing experiments with human subjects instigates a deluge of complications. The demand for better regulation of human research experiments began with the Nuremburg Code after the Nazi exploitation of unconsenting prisoners of concentration camps. Now Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) carefully examine every step of the research process, from experiment design to the relevance of the potential findings to selecting human subjects. These boards, established by the US Department Health, Education and Welfare, are responsible for determining and preserving the fine line between sufficiently protecting research subjects and unnecessarily hindering research processes.

About the Speaker
Marjorie A. Speers, Ph.D is the current executive director of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). From 1999 to 2001 she was acting Executive Director of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. She also managed the development of a report on the research oversight system, “Ethical and Policy Issues in Research Involving Human Participants.” Marjorie Speers oversaw domestic and international research as Deputy Associate Director for Science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to this, she held several other positions at the CDC, including Director of the Division of Chronic Disease Control and Community Intervention, Chief of the Aging and Statistics Branch, and staff epidemiologist. Dr. Speers also was a faculty member at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the University of Connecticut – Stamford . She has largely focused her extensive public health research on prevention and health promotion. Dr. Speers received her doctoral degrees in psychology and epidemiology from Yale and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dickinson College in 1978.

Related Links

U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Office for Human Research Protections
-Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs
-IRB Guidebook
-The Institutional Review Board – Discussion and News Forum

Code of the Street: Violence and the Inner City Poor

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Code of the Street: Violence and the Inner City Poor
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Code of the Street
Issue in Context
In an attempt to explain why many urban youths are prone to commit acts of violence and aggression, Dr. Anderson has identified a common set of street mores, termed the “code of the street.” Often termed “street justice,” the code allows individuals to command respect in society and alleviates the problems of inner city violence by relying on a strategy of deterrence. Often, the threat of implied violence is used to avoid the use of actual violence

The code reaches beyond the limits of the law, and helps residents gain a sense of security and belonging. The concept of “street justice” provides an alternative method for afflicted inner-city areas to manage their own problems in the face of an increasingly ineffectual police force.

About the Speaker
Elijah Anderson is the Charles and William L. Day Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the director for the Philadelphia Ethnography Project, associate editor of Qualitative Sociology, and a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Anderson received the Eastern Sociological Association’s Komarovsky Award for his book Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City. He is also the author of Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community; and Racial Tensions, Cultural Conflicts, and Problems of Employment Training.

As a Ford Foundation Fellow, Anderson received his doctorate from Northwestern University. He has also Code of the StreetserCode of the Streetved as a visiting professor Swarthmore College, Yale University, and Princeton University. In addition, Dr. Anderson has previously served as the vice president of the American Sociological Association.
Elijah Anderson at University of Pennsylvania
Amazon book reviews of Code of the Street
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center
Interview with Elijah Anderson

Indigenous Australia: A Contemporary Snapshot

Wednesday, February 8
Indigenous Australia: A Contemporary Snapshot
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

Australia Poster
Issue in Context
Indigenous Australians, commonly called Aborigines, form one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world. Native art, music, a strong faith, and family systems are key characteristics of the rich aboriginal culture, from the didgeridoo to dreamtime to fire-stick farming. Believed to have arrived in Australia about 40,000 years ago, there were 350-750 distinct groups with different dialects and languages when English colonists arrived in the eighteenth century.

Settlers did not value the native customs and values and gradually forced simulation across the country. Massive dispossession of traditional lands, disease and direct violence caused a 90 percent population decrease of Aborigines between 1788 and 1900. The population plummet eventually leveled as communities developed resistance to diseases and adapted to their circumstances. However, many of the tribal cultures and languages had been lost. Their traditional nomadic lifestyle was no longer viable with the increase of appropriated land, and many Aborigines worked on farms, paid for their labor with food, clothing and other basic necessities. They were not legally Australian citizens, and could not vote. Further family and cultural damage occurred from the Australian government’s removal of Aboriginal children from their families for social welfare between 1900 and 1972.

There have been several improvements in the past 50 years, with the first Aboriginal Australian gaining Australian citizenship in 1957. In 1962, Aborigines were given the right to vote in commonwealth elections, and later in all state elections as well. In 1967, clauses discriminatory to indigenous Australians were removed from the Australian constitution. During the 1970’s, the Aboriginal Land Rights Act was passed, allowing some traditional lands to be returned to the Aborigines. More recently, the Australian government has apologized for the removal of Aboriginal children from their homes, among other wrongs, in a National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week. Though many positive changes have been made, both urban and rural Aborigines still face numerous health and economic issues, including decreased school completion and university attendance rates, and are more likely to be imprisoned, clearly showing that there is still much progress to be made.

About the Speaker
Dr. Anita Weiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of Central South Wales and has become one of Australia ‘s most prolific and well known indigenous authors. She has a wide range of published works, including the historical novel, Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sidney 1937, the poetry collection Token Koori, and a work of satirical social commentary Sacred Cows, nonfiction text Dhuuluu- Yala (To Talk Straight)- Publishing Aboriginal Literature. Dr. Heiss is on several national boards and committees including Management Committee for the Australian Society of Authors and the Board of Directors for Gadigal Information Services, and is Deputy Chair and holder of the Indigenous Portfolio at the Australian Society of Authors. Dr. Heiss was awarded the ASA Medal for Under 35’s for her contribution to Australian community and public life in 2003 and the NSW Indigenous Arts Fellowship in 2004. She also was listed as one of The Bulletin magazine’s “Smart 100” and received a nomination for a 2004 Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. She is currently Writer in Residence at Macquarie University in Syndey , Australia .

Related Links
. Indigenous Australians- Encyclopedia Article
. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Website
. National Reconciliation Week
. National Sorry Day

The First September 11: The Tragedy of U.S. Moral Ambivalence Toward Democracy and Torture in the "Condor Years" in Latin America

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The First September 11: The Tragedy of U.S. Moral Ambivalence Toward Democracy and Torture in the “Condor Years” in Latin America
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

First September 11
Issue in Context
When Americans hear the term 9/11, few associate it with the September 11, 1973 overthrow of Chile ‘s democratic government that marked the onset of cooperation between the United States and military regimes in Latin America. During the next decade, Washington turned a blind eye to the conduct of military regimes in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil that perpetrated horrific human rights abuses against both violent revolutionaries and defenders of democracy. In the name of combating the spread of communism, the United States backed a secret campaign to liquidate Latin American dissidents who sought asylum in other countries, “Operation Condor.” The Operation’s spies entered neighboring Latin American countries to track, monitor, and kill political adversaries. The most notorious Condor assassination took place in Washington, DC, in September 1976, when agents planted a car bomb that killed Chile’s former foreign minister Orlando Letelier and an American woman.

About the Speakers
John Dinges is a former foreign correspondent to Latin American countries and author of three books on major events involving the United States and Latin America. He served as a special correspondent in Chile and Central America for The Washington Post. He has been awarded the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for excellence in Latin American reporting, the Media Award of the Latin American Studies Association, in addition to sharing two DuPont-Columbia University prizes for broadcast journalism. His latest book, The Condor Years: How Pinochet and his Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents, is an account of international assassinations and secret police coordination in South America, the United States , and Europe. Dinges is currently on the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University.

Related Links
• John Dinges’s Website
• The Condor Legacy
• Human Rights in Latin America

The Age of Genocide

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
2005 Morgan Lecture
The Age of Genocide
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

Issue in Context
Genocide is defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as the deliberate and systematic destruction,“in whole or in part of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

During World War II, Winston Churchill stated that the world was facing “a crime without a name.” In the wake of the Holocaust, Raphael Lemkin, a Polish legal scholar, sought to formulate a term that could encompass the killings, the objectives, and the methods of the Nazis against the Jewish population of Europe. Lemkin coined the word “genocide” from the Greek “genos” (race or tribe) and the Latin suffix “cide” (to kill). Lemkin’s struggle for the universal recognition of international law defining and forbidding genocide brought about the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Remembering the Holocaust, American leaders such as Jimmy Carter and George Bush, Sr. promised that “never again will the world fail to act in time to prevent this terrible crime,” but the history of the 20th century proved that genocide happened again and again across the globe. Why have American policy makers failed to act and prevent genocide? Because they fail, or refuse, to recognize genocide when it occurs; they believe that nonintervention is cheaper and safer, especially if it is coupled by public indifference; they calculate that intervention would be futile; and they oppose active involvement at all costs. “It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on.” (Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide”)

About the Speaker
Samantha Power is a professor of Human Rights Practice at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, a scholarly analysis of America’s policy toward genocide in the twentieth century, was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for general non-fiction, and the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize for the best book in the U.S. foreign policy. Power’s New Yorker article on the horrors in Darfur, Sudan won the 2005 National Magazine award for best reporting. Power was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (1998-2002). From 1993-1996, Power covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for the U.S. News and World Report, the Boston Globe, and The Economist. Power is the editor, with Graham Allison, of Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact (St. Martin’s, 2000). In 2004, Time Magazine selected Samantha Power as one of the 100 most influential people who have shaped how we see the world and ourselves in the Time 100: Scientists and Thinkers ranking. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, she moved to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. She is currently completing a book on the United Nations, while working as a foreign policy fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Related Links
• Dying in Darfur: Can the ethnic cleansing in Sudan be stopped? by Samantha Power
• Ghosts of Rwanda – PBS Frontline interview with Samantha Power
• Bystanders to Genocide by Samantha Power
• Prevent Genocide International
• Genocide Watch

Race, Class, and Violence in America: Building Coalitions for Change

Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Race, Class, and Violence in America: Building Coalitions for Change
Stern Center, Great Room 7:00 P.M.

Race Poster
Issue in Context
Between 1973 and 1994, the poverty rate for children in young families has doubled. Meanwhile, violent crime committed by youths has increased more than 78% in the past six years. According to statistics, shortly after the year 2050, the white majority in America will dissipate. This information is used on hate websites to negatively influence and scare young people into believing America is not the country it once was. It is clear that coalition building is more important than ever if the current younger generation is to have any hope for a successful future.

Thirty years ago, white residents of a Boston neighborhood, known as Southi, pelted school buses carrying black students with rocks and tomatoes. This area of south Boston had the highest concentration of impoverished whites in America in the 1970’s; Southie also represented the face of racism in the northeast. Mob murders, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and frequent funerals for young people were rampant. Few insiders then or now have spoken out about this aspect of Boston.

Michael Patrick MacDonald grew up in Southie and witnessed the horrific events that unfolded on the nightly news. His book, All Souls: A Family History from Southie , describes the racist violence that came out of Southie and hostility toward the police for protecting the school buses. He also reveals the joys, trials, and tribulations he faced as a kid on the streets. In recent years, MacDonald has returned to his old neighborhood to get people to talk about what happened, and to build coalitions in order to create hope for a better future.

About the Speaker
Michael Patrick MacDonald is the author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie, which won an American Book Award and a New England Literary Lights Award. The book has been selected for a film adaptation and Michael is writing the screenplay for Director Ron Shelton. He is also currently working on his second book to be published by Houghton Mifflin the fall of 2006.

While All Souls dealt with his family struggles in South Boston Old Colony Housing Projects, and the bigger issue of race and class in America, his current work focuses on the struggles teens face with post traumatic stress from violence and death, and will address ideas around teen depression and the mass medicating of young people. Michael is a long time Boston activist and writer who, from 1990 through 1998, focused on coalition building to reduce violence in Boston. He is a co-founder of Boston’s city-wide gun buyback program, and is the founder of the South Boston Vigil Group, which functioned to give a voice to that neighborhood’s survivors of violence and the drug trade.

Michael has been awarded the Anne Cox Chambers Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, a Bellagio Center Fellowship through the Rockefeller Foundation, and residencies at Djerassi and Blue Mountain Center.

He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and writes full time.

Related Links
• Interview With Michael Patrick MacDonald About All Souls
• A Generation Under Siege