Faculty in the Public Eye

When I think about public scholarship, just reflecting on my own experiences, the first thing that comes to my mind is that public scholarship may actually share knowledge, and that’s really important. But it also has the effect of enhancing professional reputations as well. I think that many people have read my work, but in fact far more people have either read an op-ed that I’ve written, have listened to some comments I’ve made on the radio, or paid attention to my face being on television. . . . I had an op-ed in the New York Times about a decade ago on vouchers, which suddenly got lots of attention, and people began to not only recognize my work but also to interact with me in all kinds of ways, primarily good, but actually some bad. . . . I guess I also assumed that most people are going to agree with my scholarship, but we have to be mindful that, no, plenty of people will disagree with your scholarship, often times very stridently, and in language or through examples that we may find offensive. 

-- Michael Leo Owens, Associate Professor of Political Science, “Public Scholarship as Professional Capital,” September 17, 2012, sponsored by the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence

Vulnerability and Humanity

Vulnerability theory places human dependency and vulnerability at the center of the inquiry of what it means to be human. It also rejects the division of the world into public versus private spheres and the designation of the private family as the repository for dependency. . . . This challenge that the vulnerability approach poses to academic and political paradigms can be summed up in an additional question: If bodily needs, desires, and yearnings—and the messy dependency they often carry with them—cannot be ignored in life, how can they be marginalized, sequestered, or absent in our theories about societies, economics, justice, politics, and law? . . . Vulnerability is a universal and constant aspect of the human condition. It arises from our embodiment and from our subsequent location within society and institutions. On the individual level, vulnerability refers to the ever-present possibility of harm, injury, or biological impairment or limitation. But the concept of vulnerability applies beyond the biological. As human creations, our institutions are also vulnerable. They are prone to capture, cooptation, and corruption.

Martha Fineman Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, Emory, “The Rights of the Needy,” September 13, 2012, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Religion 

Freud in China

There seems to be something congenial for people who are involved in Buddhist practice, in Buddhist study, and some of the notions of psychoanalysis. Once I saw, in a Buddhist temple in Chengdu, way up on the side of a little room, a little sign that said, “Psychotherapy.” I went into the room and there was this noble gentleman sitting there, and I said, “Are you a Buddhist monk? Do you do psychotherapy for the visitors?” Through our translator he said, “Oh no, no, I do psychotherapy for the monks. They really need it.” . . . On television [in China], there are many, many programs with psychologists, counselors. People come to them on television: “My daughter’s not doing well in school, she’s hanging out with the boys, I don’t like the way she dresses, how can we deal with my daughter?” And the television psychologist advises them. For a country and a group of people where it’s said no one talks much about how they feel or what’s going on, certainly something is changing in China now.

-- Elise Snyder, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, “Freud Returns to China,” September 19, 2012, sponsored by the Psychoanalytic Studies Program and the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute