are more likely to be alcoholics. But the reality is that there are lots of children of alcoholics who don’t become alcoholics. And there are alcoholics whose parents never drank. That’s why I want to look at the psychopathology. Maybe one of your biological parents wasn’t an alcoholic but did suffer severe depression and that disposed you toward alcoholism. I also want to bring in community factors and household characteristics.

AE: Has the term "addiction" become so commonplace that it’s losing its meaning?

CS: I don’t like to label people as addicts, in part because we don’t really know what that means, other than that it’s a vehicle for dialogue. In the faculty addiction seminar, people from all these different disciplines realized that we really don’t know what addiction is and that it’s probably not a good term. We have begun realizing that addiction involves behaviors and that it doesn’t necessarily include taking drugs. It might be better to go back to terms like obsessive-compulsive behavior, which in our society isn’t associated with drug use.

AE: What’s the relationship between the research and policy on addiction?

CS: There’s a lot of contradiction between the science and the policy. If you talk about cancer research, it’s translated clearly into policy. You may or may not agree with a certain policy, but much scientific effort and time goes into policy. But with addiction, the science doesn’t guide the policy at all. Preconceived notions do.
Twenty years ago, for example, half the world was against gambling. Now people have come up with rationalizations about why it’s fun to go on a boat and gamble a little. While the scientific evidence shows gambling is an addiction that negatively effects the individual, our policies keep expanding opportunities for people to gamble.

AE: Do you foresee changes in national policy on drugs?

CS: We really struggle with the failure of the war on drugs, which has not been interdisciplinary at all. It has focused on supply reduction, not demand reduction. And supply reduction translates into law enforcement.
By the time the previous drug czar, General McCaffrey, left office, he was committed an expanded version of drug treatment. It traditionally has been defined as just getting people off drugs. The treatment that generally was acceptable was a medical intervention; methadone for heroine is the classic example. But lots of people then say all you’re doing is substituting a legal addiction for an illegal one.

Drug treatments available now still include medical or chemical interventions but also focus on behavioral modification, for the individual as well as other people in his or her life. So, not only has there been a shift from a law enforcement orientation to a drug treatment orientation, there has been an expansion of the definition of drug treatment too.

It’s not clear what the new drug czar in a conservative administration will do. The only reason I’m optimistic is that I think we can change the way we think about the problem. We need to hit our new drug czar with the fact that supply reduction will really be effected if you focus on prevention. And prevention should include anything from early indications of vulnerability to drug treatment at the other end of the spectrum, because drug treatment helps prevents relapse. Plus, it will make his numbers look good, and that’s the bottom line. So the new buzz word, I predict, will be prevention and not supply or demand reduction.

For more on addiction research at Emory, see the October / November 2001 issue of the Academic Exchange.


October 8, 2001
September 11: Scholarly Responses
Foreign Policy and Dirty Work

By Abdullahi An-Na’im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law

It is amazing that the USA, renowned for perfecting a system for even the most trivial things people do, and for its ruthless economic efficiency, keeps re-inventing the wheel in its foreign policy. It ends up paying such an inflated last-minute price for what it can’t buy anyway, which is genuine good will and respect. The Bible says, “if you want peace, do justice.” It doesn’t say, pay for peace by bribing others or hiring thugs to do your dirty work for you.


October 2, 2001
September 11: Scholarly Responses
The New Urgency of Understanding Rhetoric

Jeffrey Walker, associate professor of English, begins this Academic Exchange series of brief comments on the terrorist attack of September 11. Throughout the fall, faculty from religion, public health, sociology, nursing, and other fields will offer some thoughts on September 11 as seen through the lens of their discipline.

After the outrage of September 11, teachers everywhere began thinking about the possibility and propriety of using it as a "teachable moment." As a writing teacher, I see that reflection and writing on the events—even as they continue to unfold—can give students the opportunity to do the valuable work of articulating and developing their thought in the context of open and honest discussion, and help them move toward a matured, shareable judgment. This kind of discussion can give both teacher and students an opportunity to examine critically the public discourse that emerges in response to events. We can apply the rhetorical lessons we typically teach in the examination of anthology pieces and selected "literature" to matters that are omnipresent in everyone’s thoughts. No "mere rhetoric," the arguments about terrorism promise to have real and possibly dramatic consequences for our students’ lives as well as our own.

Here I mean "rhetoric" in the larger sense (as Aristotle defined it), as a "faculty of observing" and acting upon the processes of argument and persuasion that lead to practical judgment, in both the public sphere and private life. The term "rhetoric" of course includes the overt structure and tactics used to present an argument in various types of discourse (whether an opinion piece, a story, etc.). But perhaps more importantly, rhetoric also encompasses tacit reasoning systems and habits of feeling. These are the assumptions that endow arguments with greater or lesser degrees of reasonability and persuasive force. Such examination leads to critical reflection on both actual and possible arguments, and to judgment on which ones ought to earn the assent of thinking, morally responsible people.

Students sometimes all too easily regard rhetoric as "English class stuff" with only slight bearing on their "real" concerns. Now, however, the fundamental rhetorical lessons we teach in any writing course can be made present to them as utterly and pragmatically real indeed. Perhaps this gives us the opportunity to also make real the oft-cited justification of a liberal arts education: to help students come to terms with matters of profound importance in their lives.

-------If you are interested in adding your thoughts to this series, contact Amy Benson Brown at:

September 27, 2001
The Civil War and American Memory

With memories of the terrorist attack still forming in the American psyche, Professor David Blight argued that "the very process by which societies remember the past has a history that needs to be studied." Analysis of how war in particular becomes remembered demonstrates that "collective memory is an instrument of power," said Dr. Blight, a historian at Amherst college. His talk, “The Riddle of Collective Memory and the American Civil War,” was sponsored by the Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life on September 19, 2001. Below are three highlights from his talk:

--"Looking at the fifty years right after the American civil war, I found three overall visions of Civil War memory which collided and combined over time. The first is a reconciliationist vision which took root in the process of dealing with the dead and the injured and developed earlier than the embittered history of Reconstruction has sometimes allowed us to believe. The second is a white supremacist vision of Civil War memory, which took many forms early including terror and violence during reconstruction. It locked arms with reconciliationist vision many times and delivered the country an essentially segregated memory of the war by the turn of the century. The third is the emancipationist vision, embodied in African Americans’ complex remembrance of their own truths and in conceptions of the war as the reinvention of the republic and the liberation of blacks. In the end this is a story of how the forces of reconciliation overwhelmed the emancipationist vision in the national culture."

--"For so long after the civil war, Americans faced an overwhelming task of trying to understand the tangled relationship between two profound ideas: healing and justice. On some level, both had to occur. . . . Human reconciliations are a good thing, but sometimes reconciliation comes at a terrible cost. The reunion after so horrible a civil war was a political triumph by the late nineteenth century, but it was not or could not have been achieved without the re-subjugation of many of those people the war had freed from centuries of bondage."

--"As long as we have a politics of race in America, we have a politics of Civil War memory. For Americans, the Civil War has been the defining event upon which we have often imposed unity and continuity. As a culture, we have often preferred the theme of reconciled conflict to unreconciled complexity. "

Dr. Blight's most recent book is Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard UP, 2001).

September 19, 2001
Scholarship on Disability at Emory
Emory's gaining a new scholar of disability studies. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson will join the Women's Studies Program in the spring of 2002. She is the author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (Columbia University Press, 1977). For more on Garland-Thomson and the emergence of disability studies, see "Disability and the Academy: A field comes of age" in the December 2000 / January 2001 issue of the Academic Exchange

September 6, 2001
David Lodge Coming to Campus

If you enjoyed Shalom Goldman's review essay in the September Academic Exchange, "Academic Life by the Book: A campus tour of satiric fiction," you'll be glad to know one of the great satirists of academic life is coming to campus soon. Novelist and critic, David Lodge, whose many books include Changing Places, Nice Work, and Small World, will be on campus October 7—10, 2001. He will give three lectures on "Consciousness and the Novel" as part of the series of Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literture. On October 10th, he will give a reading and be available to sign copies of his new novel, Thinks (Viking, 2001). Below is a list of dates and places:

• October 7, 4 p.m.,"Consciousness and the Two Cultures," Woodruff Health Sciences Auditorium
• October 8, 8:00 p.m.,"First Person and Third Person," Goizueta Business School Auditorium, Room 130
• Oct. 9, 8:15 p.m.,"Surface and Depth," Goizueta Business School Auditorium, Room 130
• October 10, 8:15 p.m., reading and book signing, Glenn Memorial Sanctuary.

A Book Jacket Description of Thinks:
"Ralph Messenger is a man who knows what he wants and generally gets it. As director of the prestigious Holt Belling
Center for Cognitive Science at the University of Gloucester, he is much in demand as a pundit on developments in
artificial intelligence and the study of human consciousness. Known to his colleagues as a womanizer, he has reached a
tacit understanding with his American wife Carrie to refrain from philandering in his own backyard. This resolution is already weakening when he meets and is attracted to Helen Reed, a recently widowed novelist who has taken up a post as writer in residence at Gloucester. Fascinated and challenged by a personality and a worldview radically at odds with her own, Helen is aroused by Ralph's bold advances but resists on moral principle. The standoff between them is shattered by a series of events and discoveries that dramatically confirm the truth of Ralph's dictum that 'we can never know for certain what another person is thinking.'"