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January 16, 2001

All that Jazz

Faculty panel organizers will contribute a series of columns for
Emory Report leading up to the Reconciliation Symposium, Jan. 2528.

Ben Homola is a third-year masters of divinity student in the School of Theology.

“Reconciliation in the Academy” Friday, Jan. 26, 1-3 p.m. Facilitated by Steven Kraftchick, associate dean of academic affairs, School of Theology.

Why is there a need for Emory to address reconciliation in the academy?
Kraftchick:
In a recent discussion, an Emory College faculty member noted that there is a lack of “uni” at Emory University. He was referring to the lack of “information flow” among the University’s various constituencies. This session examines the issues that arise when a university’s various fields of inquiry develop different, and not always compatible, claims to truth. The relative health and vitality of a university is a function of how the discussion among these fields is conducted. A mandate for any university is to help its publics relate, and this cannot be done unless different areas of inquiry develop means of cross-boundary communication.

What impact might this session have on attendees and on the University?
It is our hope that we will discover ways to enhance conversation among disciplines, encourage understanding of the different ways in which inquiries after knowledge are conducted, and develop more interaction among the University’s different areas of inquiry. Because this session asks how different disciplines intersect and diverge, the session cannot help but raise new questions for each discipline about its own methods, conceptions of truth and means of communication.

As relationships among our different disciplines are discussed, it is often the case that new, previously unrecognized fields of inquiry become evident. If we are successful in our conversation, we will produce some concrete steps Emory can take to encourage cross-disciplinary teaching and the development of new understandings of how the University’s parts relate to one another.

Who will be participating in this discussion?
John D’Arms, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, will offer the main address, “Reconciliation or Reconnections? The Humanities and the Academy.” Emory respondents will include Pam Hall, Massee-Martin/NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor and associate professor of philosophy and women’s studies; Amy Schrager Lang, associate professor in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts; and Robert de Haan, C.H. Candler Professor of Cell Biology and director of the Elementary Science Education Partners Program.

“Peace and Reconciliation in the International System” Friday, Jan. 26, 3:15-5:15 p.m. Facilitated by David Davis, associate professor of political science.

What is the connection between the issue of reconciliation in the international context and Emory’s community?
Davis
: At the broadest level, the issue of reconciliation in international relations is important because the world faces a number of daunting problems: violent ethnic conflict (especially in Africa), a global public health crisis related to HIV/AIDS, environmental problems like global warming and declining biodiversity, and the problems that occur during democratic transitions. The interests of the scholars on the panel address broad, important trends in international politics and governance, demonstrating that scholarship can have important national and international policy implications.
Emory’s effort and research on reconciliation provides an opportunity to discover constructive methods toward achieving international reconciliation. Reconciliation in international relations is a critical and necessary step for improving governance and creating an environment where the effective management of these problems will be possible.

What will attendees take away from this session?
One of Emory’s recent goals has been to improve awareness of and interest in international affairs. By specifically focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, ethnic conflict in Africa and the democratization of established powers, this session will encourage attendees to engage critically the complex dynamics of international relations and conflict. I hope panel attendees will realize that changes in other nations and corners of the international system can have an important influence on their lives. Unless citizens in nations like the United States support and encourage action by their governments, the prospects for long-term cooperation and progress in international politics are dim.

Who will be addressing these issues?
Each of the panelists will present a paper from his recent research. Kenneth Stein, Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Israeli Studies, will present “Resolving the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Pragmatic Accomodation or Sustaining Reconciliation.” Richard Joseph, A.G. Candler Professor of Political Science and former director of the democracy program at the Carter Center, will present “Reconciliation and Reconstituting the State in Africa.” Robert Pastor, White Professor of International Relations and founding director of the Carter Center’s Latin American and Caribbean Program and the Democracy and China Project, will present “Mediating Democratic Transitions: Reconciliation Among Elites.”

 

Back to Emory Report Jan. 16, 2001