Terrors many complicated aspects will be examined from a
variety of angles at the Center for Humanistic Inquirys (CHI)
spring forum, The Humanities and Terror, to be held
Thursday, Feb. 6 in Cox Hall.
The centerpiece of the event will be eight simultaneous focus groups
that will examine terror through a wide range of humanistic filters,
such as how terror is discussed both in speech and in literature,
and how terror and violence are related.
Leading the focus groups will be a diverse array of Emory College
faculty members: Comparative literatures David Bright (The
Paradox of Aesthetic Terror), Spanishs Maria Mercedes Carrion
(Engendering Terror), Russians Alan Cienki (Speaking of Terror),
musics Steve Everett (Representation of Terror), philosophys
Tom Flynn (Hell is Other People: Existentialism and Violence), English
and womens studies Frances Smith Foster (Silence: Terror),
religions Laurie Patton (Divine Love and Holy Terror: Religious
Devotion and the Two Faces of Fear) and Englishs Ron Schuchard
(The Universality of Terror).
The vast majority of the attendees are faculty members themselves.
We wanted to pull together a wide range of faculty who would
bring up the idea of humanistic inquiry, said CHI program
assistant Keith Anthony.
What were looking to do is not necessarily provide
answers, but rather to proved a framework for answering the many
questions being asked, Anthony said. With a topic this
broad its hard to come up with simple solutions.
The forums format will be rather straightforward. It will
begin with brief social time, followed by a welcome from CHI director
Martine Watson Brownley, Goodrich C. White Professor of English,
and Emory College interim Dean Bobby Paul at 5 p.m. Attendees will
then break into focus groups, each consisting of a moderating professor
and approximately eight participants. The focus groups will run
about 90 minutes to be followed by dinner at 6:30.
After dinner, the focus groups will be shuffled and reconvened
with new sets of participants.
Several of the focus groups are interrelated. For instance, Schuchards
Universality of Terror will examine how the fear of
terror permeates most every aspect of life, from work to travel
to simply opening the mail. One of that groups focuses will
be religionwhich is also a main component of Pattons
discussion group on Religious Devotion and the Two Faces of
Another goal of the forum is to bring fresh perspectives into the
discussion of terror. Liter-ature, art and music are not the first
disciplines that come to mind when discussing terrorism, but Everetts
focus group will do just that.
Dantes Divine Comedy, for instance gave its medieval readers
their first idea of what hell could be like, and its fiery images
remain strong today. Prior to its publication, hell was an abstraction,
By creating a representation, we can comprehend the horror
of something terrible even though we arent going through it
ourselves, Everett said. Art can provide an empathic
The spring forum is CHIs first campus event. The center was
created last fall but will not open officially until fall 2002.
Spearheading the CHIs creation was a committee of college
faculty who outlined the structure of the center as it now exists.
That committee also chose as Brownley as director. Each of the professors
leading focus groups sits on the centers current executive
A few slots remain open for people interested in participating.
For more information or to reserve a place, contact CHI at 404-727-6424,
or refer to its website at www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/CHI.