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Center for Ethics announces theme; fall programming


The Muhlenberg College Center for Ethics' theme for the 2016-17 academic year, "War & Peacebuilding," will focus on topics related to these themes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 10:03 AM

The Center for Ethics will host related programming, including lectures and a Campus Reads program, from September through November. All events are free and open to the public.

Denton-BorhaugThe first fall event, a talk by Kelly Denton-Borhaug, associate professor of religion and co-director of peace and justice studies at Moravian College, will be based on her book “U.S. War-Culture, Sacrifice and Salvation,” which examines the culture of sacrificial rhetoric enabled by Christian understandings of redemption that underpins American dealings with war. The talk will take place on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in Seegers Union's Great Room.

Sacrificial rhetoric, symbolism, performance and interpretation permeate U.S. thought and speech about our ways of war. In the talk entitled, “Resisting the Sacred Canopy over U.S. Ways of War,” Denton-Borhaug will explore diverse examples of "sacrificial U.S. war-culture," focusing on the post-9/11 period of U.S. history, to investigate how this discourse shrouds war with a sacred canopy that creates silence, disables critical analysis, and rationalizes and masks war’s violence.

Denton-Borhaug has written and spoken widely on the ways that religion consciously and unconsciously shapes attitudes and decision-making with respect to militarization and war in the U.S. This past summer she was a featured speaker at the east coast regional gathering of peacebuilders with Coalition for Peace Action: Faith Witness in a Time of Endless War. In her latest research she mobilizes a cultural criticism approach to better reveal and analyze the dynamics of U.S. culture that result in the phenomenon of "moral injury" among U.S. soldiers and veterans.

Subsequent fall Center for Ethics events include:

Andrew Bacevich lecture and book signing, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East”
Sept. 19, 7 p.m. in Moyer Hall’s Miller Forum

Military historian Bacevich will deliver a talk based on his new book, “America’s War for the Greater Middle East,” which chronicles and critiques US military involvement in the Middle East dating to the Carter administration. A book signing will follow.

Woodrow Wilson Fellow David Frakt lecture, “Ethics, Politics and the Quest for Justice at Guantanamo: Reflections of a Gitmo Defense Lawyer”
Sept. 27, 7 p.m. in Moyer Hall’s Miller Forum

Renowned lawyer, human rights activist, military officer and scholar Frakt, the only defense counsel to successfully defend a detainee charged with war crimes before the Guantanamo military commissions, will reflect on this experience and discuss the broader ethical, legal, political and moral aspects of U.S. detention policies.

Eric Fair reading and discussion of “Consequences, a Memoir”
Oct. 25, 7 p.m. in Moyer Hall’s Miller Forum

Fair, a Bethlehem native and resident, will do a reading and discussion from his book “Consequences, a Memoir,” which chronicles Eric's role as a contract interrogator for the U.S. military during the Iraq War. It is a powerful exploration of moral injury and was heralded by Phil Klay, writer and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, as “An act of incredible bravery.”

Campus Reads program on Pat Barker's novel, “Regeneration”
Nov. 11, Common Hour, locations around campus

On Veteran's Day the Center for Ethics will mark centennial explorations of WWI by coordinating a campus reads program. CFE will invite faculty, staff and students to join in reading Pat Barker's novel, “Regeneration,” which explores complex issues around sanity, injury and war, and resonates well in the current moment. CFE will be asking people to sign up for the program by the end of September and will provide a free copy of the book for all participants. Participants will be assigned to groups and provided a location for meeting during Common Hour on Nov. 11 to discuss the novel. Prior to group discussions, coffee and refreshments will be available for participants in the Fireside Lounge of Seegers Union.

Through thematic lectures and events, the Center for Ethics serves the teaching and study of the liberal arts at Muhlenberg College by providing opportunities for intensive conversation and thinking about the ethical dimensions of contemporary philosophical, political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific issues. In service to its mission, the Center for Ethics hosts special events and programs, provides faculty development opportunities, and provides support for student programming. The Center and thematic programs are directed by full-time faculty members.

Chris Sistare, professor of philosophy and co-director of philosophy and political thought, serves as director; Brian Mello, associate professor of political science, is this year’s program director.

During the spring 2017 semester, the Center for Ethics will continue to explore the theme of War and Peacebuilding. Confirmed spring events include a presentation on video games and war; a film series; a talk by Mark Harris based on his book “Five Came Back”; feminist philosopher Chris Cuomo, who will offer a feminist critique of just war theory; philosopher and just war theorist Brian Orend, who will speak about the morality of war; and an LVAIC conference “From War to Peace: Drawing on the Power of the Arts to Build a Just Society in the Lehigh Valley,” which will feature an open presentation from Theatre of War, a theater group based out of New York City that performs dramatic readings of Sophocles as a means to foster conversation about warfare today.

For updated information on Center for Ethics programming, visit the Center for Ethics webpage.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences as well as selected pre-professional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.