Vol. 8 No. 4
February/March 2006

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The Art and Science of Persuasion
Faculty, fundraising, and Emory's comprehensive campaign

The Development and University Relations Faculty Advisory Council

The Emory College Faculty Committee on Fundraising

"Faculty should know that this train is moving, and if there are suggestions or claims to be made or priorities to be established, this is the time to do it."

"Fundraising is an enormously long process, with hours devoted to stewardship."

Dangerous Ideas
The responsibilities of courageous inquiry

Emory's Living Room
The case for a university faculty club

A Day in the Life
Juggling family and academic science



Indecency and Literary Merit
It used to be that texts viewed as indecent could become objects of study once they had ceased to be seen as inherently indecent and passed into the canon, at which point they were studied for their literary merit and despite any lingering traces of obscenity or indecency. In this the academy has followed legal norms, which over the course of roughly a century—mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth—replaced the idea that literary merit only served to exacerbate indecency (a well-written book being all the more likely to corrupt its readership than an obviously trashy one) with the notion that literary merit obviates obscenity. And thus an artistically rendered indecency is a work of art above all, and as a result will uplift its public rather than, or perhaps in addition to, corrupting it.
—Elisabeth Ladenson, Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of French and Romance Philology, Columbia University, from her talk, “Indecent Proust,” December 1, 2005, sponsored by the French and Italian Departments

Haitian Vodou and the Catholic Church

Given recent research findings, I would argue that Haitian vodou is effectively an African religion, a synergistic meeting and blending of religious principles and practices drawn mainly from Fon/Yoruba and Kongo/Angolan cultures, and not from African religions hidden behind a façade of European-based Christianity. The Roman Catholic elements that are part of Haitian vodou were already present in the spiritual culture of the enslaved peoples who arrived from Central Africa. Significantly, both Central Africans and West Africans in addition brought to the New World beliefs and ritual practices designed to harness and focus the power of ancestors. Thus it is little wonder that vodou became such a problem for the Church, with vodouists insisting that they were Catholic and making claims to shrines and spaces sacred to the Vatican. With its return to Haiti in 1860, the Church was faced with the problem of how to disconnect its identity from the practices of vodou, how to reclaim itself from the clutches of this blended tradition. The representatives of Rome found allies in the upper classes, in the light-skinned political elites who by then had claimed ultimate control over the nation. But the prestige of leadership and wealth have not been enough to pry Haitians from their attachment to the lwa [a vodou spirit or deity].
—Edna Bay, associate professor in the Institute for Liberal Arts, from her talk, “Cultures Cults and Christianity: The Making of Haitian Vodou and Beninese Roman Catholicism,” October 20, 2005