Emory Report
March 17, 2008
Volume 60, Number 23


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March 17, 2008

Ways to see good and evil
“If we have any hope of lessening evil and enhancing good, we will have to employ as many disciplines as possible: religious, evolutionary biology, psychology, social sciences and every one represented in this room,” said Carol Newsom in her March 3 Life of the Mind lecture.

The Charles Howard Candler professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible summarized ways the ancient world imagined good and evil.

Among them: The wisdom tradition says to know the good is to do it. However, it “vastly understates the resiliency of evil … and … excludes an account of institutional or systemic evil,” Newsom said. — Leslie King

A good neighbor for DeKalb County
Emory has a significant direct and indirect economic impact to the metro area, which the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education estimates at over $4 billion annually.

At a March 3 DeKalb Chamber of Commerce meeting, President Jim Wagner described Emory as bringing the best and brightest to this region, where many stay after graduation.

“As part of the ‘brain gain’ for metro Atlanta, 22 percent of our undergraduate students are from Georgia, but after graduation, over half of Emory’s graduates remain and work in the region. Nearly a third of our overall 100,000 alumni live in metro Atlanta.” — David Payne

Infant mortality a neglected issue
The documentary “March of the Penguins” galvanized Americans with scenes of babies succumbing to the harsh Antarctic, noted Monica Casper, a medical sociologist from Vanderbilt University. She then posed the questions: “So why is it that human infant deaths are not visualized or discussed in the United States? What would it take to make us care about our own dead babies?”

In a recent talk at Emory titled “Phantom Babies,” Casper said that the U.S. has a surprisingly high infant mortality rate for a developed country, and that African Americans have a significantly higher rate than the general population. Instead of tackling root causes such as poverty, policymakers have focused on pre-conception health care programs. This sets up infant mortality as the fault of women and girls who do not follow the program, Casper said.

“Not only are the babies invisible, but the women themselves become containers of blame.” — Carol Clark