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 Center for Ethics promotional image for the 2020 calendar

The 2020-2021 Center for Ethics series began on Friday, September 11 with a series of monthly faculty discussions about The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt and guest speaker videos related to the dilemmas of engaging in speech and action. It continues with a faculty panel discussion and a live webinar on Mohsin Hamid's novel Exit West on September 18 and 25, respectively. November 12 and 13 bring a virtual campus visit and live webinar guest lecture by Teng Biao, a former lecturer at the University of Politics and Law in Beijing, China and recent Grove Human Rights Scholar at Hunter College. All programs are available virtually to the Muhlenberg community and the public unless otherwise noted.

Event Schedule

Faculty Reading Group - Vita Activa, Engaging Arendt on Speech and Action
Over the course of the College's academic year, faculty will engage as a cohort with The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt. While the reading group is for Muhlenberg faculty only and is currently full, the entire College community and the public are encouraged to complete the readings. Following each guest speaker's talk, public links to the presentation videos will be available here. The Center will also host a virtual mini-conference in April 2021 to share their reflections and discoveries.

  • Discussions of "Contradictions on Free Speech" by Inside Higher Ed writer Greta Anderson and video presentation by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, assistant professor of philosophy at Georgetown University and philosopher on the histories of activism and activist thinkers, the Black radical tradition, and the relationship between power and education, working also in the domain of public philosophy.
    September 11, 2020,  at 2 p.m.

    • Discussion of Chapter 1 of The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt and a video presentation by Luvell Anderson, associate professor of philosophy and affiliate faculty member in African American Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies at Syracuse University.
      October 9, 2020, at 2 p.m.

  • Discussion of Chapter 5 of The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt and a video presentation by Ashley Farmer, author of Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era and assistant professor of history and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas-Austin.
    November 20, 2020, at 2 p.m.

  • Discussion of Chapter 6 of The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt and a video presentation by Paula Austin, a US historian with a focus on African American history, particularly interested in broadening the narrow definitions of intellectual history. She is assistant professor of history and African American studies at Boston University.
    December 11, 2020, at 2 p.m.

The Faculty Reading Group guest speaker video presentations are co-sponsored by the Multicultural Center and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Opening Panel - Exit West as a Form of Speech and Action

Panel Video Release - Sept. 18, 2020 (View video archive above)

Live Webinar Discussion - Sept. 25, 2020 - 2:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Access the Webinar

In the hope that it may be possible to bring Mohsin Hamid to campus this year, after his spring 2020 visit was postponed, the College is once again using his novel, Exit West, as a Campus Reads text. We hope that many classes will choose to engage with this novel throughout the year. Our 2020-2021 program, Engaging in Speech and Action, will offer an opening panel that reads the novel, not so much through the lens of borders and identity—last year’s theme—but as, itself, a form of speech and action. An opening panel of faculty will offer their reflections on the novel in a video discussion that will be publicly released on September 18, 2020. Then, on September 25, 2020, an open discussion will be held during Common Hour (2-3:15 p.m.) via Zoom.

Faculty Panelists:

Emanuela Kucik, English and Africana Studies
Mohsin Hashim, Political Science
Dawn Lonsinger, English
Leticia Robles-Moreno, Theatre and Dance
Mark Stein, History

 Virtual Campus Visit - November 12-13

Live Webinar Public Lecture - November 13 at 2 p.m.
Zoom Link

“From 1989 to 1984: The Formation of China’s High-Tech Totalitarianism,” a Scholars-at-Risk Guest Lecture with Teng Biao, human rights activist, academic lawyer and former lecturer at the University of Politics and Law in Beijing, China.

Following Biao's public lecture, Muhlenberg's Assistant Professor of Anthropology Casey Miller and Professor of Media & Communication Jeff Pooley will lead an open discussion and a guided Q&A session.

 "Engaging in Speech and Action" will continue into the Spring 2021 semester with group discussions of chapters from Kathryn Sophia Belle’s (formerly Kathryn Gines) monograph, Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question, and additional contemporary scholarship on engaging speech and action.

About "Engaging in Speech and Action"
Hannah Arendt, following Aristotle, argued that the capacity to speak and act in the world constitutes distinctly human capabilities. Increasingly our moment, and our campus, is defined by growing concern about ways we impose on others and on ourselves limits to our capacity to speak and to act. In order to foster the capacity to speak and act in a time of increasing polarization, technological complexity and political uncertainty, this Center for Ethics program will support programs designed to engage the community in a series of events and development workshops that explicitly seek to build and foster speech and action.

Spring 2021

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Academic Freedom Workshop 

An introductory workshop designed to open up Advocacy Week with an interactive discussion of Academic Freedom and its implications abroad and on college campuses like Muhlenberg.

Monday, May 3, 2021

  • May 3 - 7, Light Lounge, Seegers Union

"Visuals for the Voiceless: Exposing the Uyghur Genocide" (Art Exhibit)

A photo and art exhibit depicting the lives of the Uyghur people and the human rights violations they endure.

  • 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., Parent’s Plaza

Peace through sport should NOT mean political neutrality Petition Drive

Students advocating for the release of human rights activist Patrick George Zaki, detained since February 2020 in Egypt, invite students to electronically join a petition drive to end the International Olympic Committee’s stance banning athletes from making political statements, as well as international petitions calling for Egypt to release Mr. Zaki.  Events like the Olympics have historically provided spaces for athletes to raise awareness about human rights abuses like Mr. Zaki’s detention.

  • 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Light Lounge, Seegers Union 

Cheetah Stuff-a-Plush 

Before her imprisonment, Niloufar Bayani's conservation work with the Persian Wildlife Foundation was focused on the endangered Asiatic Cheetah. Join us to make a stuffed cheetah while learning about her research and what you can do to help her case. Generously supported by MAC.

  • 6:00 - 7:00pm Zoom Workshop 

Academic Freedom in India Webinar 

Pre-Registration Link

David Romberg presents clips from his film in progress, "Mi Buenos Aires Querida," and talks about his father: artist, scholar, and political activist Osvaldo Romberg, who was active in Argentina in the 1960s-70s.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Lilies for Bayani

Senior Dana students will be planting lilies in honor of the wrongfully imprisoned environmentalist, Niloufar Bayani. Niloufar means water lily. This event will be livestreamed on instagram (@bergstudentsforSAR). We hope that these will serve as a long lived reminder for the Muhlenberg community of this injustice and the value of academic freedom. 

  • 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., The Red Door, Seegers Union  

"The Plight of the Uyghurs" (Film screenings of "China Undercover")

A cultural genocide is happening at this very moment. The Chinese government is persecuting Uyghurs and forcibly holding them in “reeducation” (detention) camps. China is trying to conceal this matter from the world, but China Undercover, a PBS documentary, unveils the reality of what is happening. Come learn the truth and say “No” to persecution!

Dana Senior Forum 

Group presentations showcasing Dana students' research and advocacy work in conjunction with Scholars at Risk and the Center for Ethics' Program, Engaging in Speech and Action.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

  • 9:30-10:00am - WMUH 91.7fm 

 Spotlight Muhlenberg: Muhlenberg Advocacy Week and Scholars at Risk

  • 11:00 AM - 12:00, Light Lounge, Seegers Union

Professor GN Saibaba Advocacy Tabling: Members of the DANA Scholars Senior Forum who are teaming with the organization known as Scholars at Risk will be bringing awareness to the case of Professor GN Saibaba who has been wrongfully imprisoned in India. Students will be presented with the opportunity to sign a petition and take free merchandise as ways of advocating for Dr. Saibaba's release from prison. 

  • 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Light Lounge, Seegers Union

 Free Patrick Zaki Contact Congress Event

 We invite you to stop by, scan a QR code, input contact information for the Congressional official of your choice, and help bring Patrick Zaki’s case to the attention of the US Congress. 

Letter Writing for Uyghur Human Rights Legislation   

Join the Ilham Tohti advocacy group as we write letters to our representatives asking them to endorse legislation that protects Uyghur rights. Information and templates will be provided, and more details on specific legislation will arrive as the event draws closer. We will be gathering virtually via Zoom.

  • 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. (Empie Theatre)

"Red Ant Dream" Documentary Screening  

Presented by students who have been advocating on behalf of scholar and human rights activist G.N. Saibaba, who has been in prison in India since 2017, this film is based on the Maoist movement in India. There will be a talkback immediately following the screening. Rain location TBA

Thursday, May 6, 2021

  • 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Light Lounge, Seegers Union

Birthday Cards for Bayani

Join us writing birthday cards for Niloufar Bayani, an imprisoned conservationist in Iran. We will be sending these cards to her family as a reminder of those fighting for her release and thinking about her case, to be received for her birthday, May 9th. 

  • 4:00-6:00 p.m., Light Lounge, Seegers Union

"Conversation with the Creators of Visuals for the Voiceless: Addressing the Uyghur Genocide"

Have you heard of the Uyghur genocide? Come by the Light Lounge to see our exhibit and learn how you can stand with the Uyghur people!

  • 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., The Red Door, Seegers Union 

"The Plight of the Uyghurs" (Film screenings of "China Undercover")

  • 10:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m., Burkholder Quad Tent

Saibaba Late Night Poetry Jam 

The Saibaba Late Night Poetry Jam is a space to share poetry and learn about Professor Saibaba's creative work written while in solitary confinement.

Friday, May 7, 2021

  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. 

A final event will take place Friday Afternoon.  Look for details about this event, which will either be held under the Burkholder tent, or via Zoom, very soon.

Brian Mello, Director
Associate Professor, Political Science
Marcia Morgan, Program Director
Associate Professor of Philosophy