Emory Report
August 28, 2006
Volume 59, Number 1


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August 28, 2006
"Just societies" focus of humanities lectures, cartoonist Luckovich to kick off series

BY kim urquhart

Artists, writers, activists and scholars will explore the topic “Envisioning and Creating Just Societies: Perspectives from the Public Humanities” as part of this year’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Hosted by the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship (CSPS) and the Center for Humanistic Inquiry (CHI), the series features four lectures – free and open to the public – at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, to be followed by question-and-answer periods, book signings and other events.

“The speakers are major public figures who are both scholars and activists and whose accomplishments and ideas are of interest to a broad range of people both at Emory and in Atlanta,” said Martine Brownley, director of the CHI and Goodrich C. White Professor of English.

Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, will kick off the series on Sept. 14 with an inside glimpse into the world of an editorial cartoonist. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial cartooning, Luckovich is the most reprinted editorial cartoonist in America. “Four More Wars!,” Luckovich’s newest collection of politically charged sketches and humorous personal anecdotes, will debut next month.

On Nov. 9, award-winning writer and poet Katha Pollitt will discuss issues related to feminism and the roles of women in society in her presentation, “Are We There Yet? Why Women Aren’t Equal, Even if We Think We Are.” Pollitt, whose column regularly appears in The Nation, is known for her shrewd observations on culture and politics. Her latest book of essays, “Virginity or Death!: And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time,” was released in June.

Pollitt also will be on campus the following morning, Nov. 10, for a discussion hosted by the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at the Emory School of Law.

The third featured speaker is Justice Albie Sachs, South African writer, activist and veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, who will visit Emory in February. Sachs, a justice on South Africa’s first Constitutional Court, helped draft a new constitution for the country and has authored numerous books about his fight for justice in South Africa, and the complexities of doing so as a white Jewish male.

His experience of losing an arm and an eye in a 1988 car bomb attack while working as an exiled civil rights lawyer in Mozambique is chronicled in the upcoming film version of his book, “The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter.” Another book, “The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs,” was dramatized for the Royal Shakespeare Company and televised by the BBC.

The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory will present a staged reading of “The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs” at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Sachs also will be honored as a Distinguished Fellow by the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning and featured in a faculty colloquium organized in collaboration with the Feminism and Legal Theory Project.

Rounding out the Distinguished Speaker Series on April 12 will be philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, a noted scholar of political and moral theory and African and African-American identities. Speaking on “Understanding Moral Disagreement,” the Princeton professor will discuss his recent acclaimed book, “Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers,” drawing on his own multicultural upbringing and examples from philosophy and literature to illustrate the idea that all of humanity belongs to a single moral community.

The speakers will be available for book signings, hosted by the Druid Hills Bookstore, after each event. In addition, the CHI will offer a lunch discussion for faculty and graduate students.

A number of departments and programs are cosponsoring the series, which enforces the University’s strategic themes of “courageous scholarship and community engagement,” said Corinne Kratz, co-director of CSPS and professor of anthropology and African studies.

The speaker series also serves to further strengthen the collaborative relationship between the CSPS, which organizes workshops and thematic programs that cross the boundary between academic and public realms, and the CHI, which is dedicated to providing occasions and spaces for encouraging intellectual community and scholarship across disciplines.

Thursday, Sept. 14
Mike Luckovich
“The World of an Editorial Cartoonist.”
4 p.m. Reception Hall, Carlos Museum.

Thursday, Nov. 9
Katha Pollitt
“Are We There Yet? Why Women Aren’t Equal, Even if We Think We Are.”
4 p.m. Reception Hall, Carlos Museum.

Monday, Feb. 5
Albie Sachs
“A Man Called Henry.”
4 p.m. Reception Hall, Carlos Museum.

Thursday, April 12
Kwame Appiah
“Understanding Moral Disagreement.”
4 p.m. Reception Hall, Carlos Museum.