Emory Report
February 18, 2008
Volume 60, Number 20

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February 18, 2008

Equality can hurt the vulnerable
“Vulnerability is a universal and ever-present aspect of the human condition,” said Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law Martha Fineman in her Life of the Mind lecture Feb. 6.

“There is the present potential for all of us to become dependent,” she said. “We can be undone” by disease, erratic weather, failure of the economy or housing markets.

Working against equality as a solution are employment inequality; negotiations in which one individual sacrifices for the family good; and future responsibilities such as child custody post-divorce.

“We need a more vital, responsive state so the vulnerable will be more equally addressed,” said Fineman, who specializes in family law.

Vulnerability analysis should focus on systems of power and privilege that produce advantages and disadvantages, she said. — Leslie King

Giovanni dispenses wit, wisdom
“If you find yourself on ‘Deal or No Deal’ . . . take the third deal.”

“You must floss.”

“Don’t eat bad food.”

“Don’t drink purified water; drink spring water. Purified water is just cow piss.”

These were among the nuggets of humorous wisdom dispensed by poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni to a delighted audience at her public lecture and reading Feb. 6, sponsored by School of Theology’s Black Student Caucus.

Giovanni read from her newest book, “Acolytes,” and told personal and moving stories of her family, and of friends such as Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks. She even opined that if Martin Luther King Jr. were with us today, he would have braids. — Elaine Justice

Emory history one of continuity
Vice President Gary Hauk in a Feb. 8 Founders Week lecture reflected on the two foundings of Emory – the Oxford campus in 1836 and the Druid Hills campus in 1915.

Despite “enormous changes” since those two long-ago dates, Hauk finds “Emory’s history is one of fundamental continuity.”

Points of continuity Hauk found were “a sense of being on the ropes financially, campus planning, connection to Methodism and Emory’s willingness to continually renew its founding covenant every time it appeared to be broken.”

“Founders and re-founders [believed] that the truth would set them free, that freedom, democracy, education, religion, faith all relied on each other to a certain extent,” he concluded. — Leslie King