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Ethics Center kicks off fall programs

Sept. 24, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Ethical considerations surrounding such topics as antisemitism, the media, human rights and Charles Darwin will be scrutinized during the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's fall season, beginning Thursday, Oct. 1.

The state of antisemitism today will be illuminated during at the center's first program, featuring Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld and titled "What Is the 'New' Antisemitism, and What Can We Do About It?" Rosenfeld will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Room 2028 of Brown Hall. All of the center's presentations are free and open to the public.

Other fall 2009 Ethics Center events

Rosenfeld is director of the Institute for Jewish Culture and the Arts at Indiana University. He received his doctoral degree from Brown University in 1967 and has taught at Indiana University since 1968. He is the author of numerous scholarly and critical articles on American poetry, Jewish writers and the literature of the Holocaust. Among his publications with Indiana University Press are "Imagining Hitler" (1985) and his essay, "The Americanization of the Holocaust" (1997).

Rosenfeld is a board member and scholarly consultant to various Jewish institutions and organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League. He also held a five-year presidential appointment on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 2002-07 and currently serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Executive Committee.

His presentation will look at how Nazism was defeated in Europe almost 65 years ago, but antisemitism was not. Resurgent over the past decade, it is once again a disturbing presence there and elsewhere. Denis MacShane, author of "Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism," writes: "The antisemitism of old has morphed into something new …. Neo-antisemitism is a 21st century global ideology," with its own "thinkers, organizers, spokespersons, state sponsors and millions of adherents."

Rosenfeld's lecture will focus on prominent features of this "new antisemitism," including those that make it both "new" and also continuous with the past. In addition, it will describe what might be done to contain the dangers inherent in the public expression of anti-Jewish hostility.

Rosenfeld also will present a talk on Holocaust poetry at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the lobby of the Lee Honors College. His WMU talks are co-sponsored by the Kalamazoo College Jewish Studies Program, the Kalamazoo Jewish Federation and WMU's Lee Honors College.

Other fall 2009 Ethics Center events

  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.
    2028 Brown Hall

    Dr. Stephen Ward, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "A Free and Undemocratic Media?"

  • Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.
    2028 Brown Hall

    Dr. Carol Gould, professor of philosophy, Graduate Center, City University of New York, "Diversity, Democracy and Dialogue in a Human Rights Framework."

  • Monday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.
    159 Bernhard Center

    Panel discussion with WMU faculty members Drs. William Santiago-Valles, Africana studies; Ronald Kramer, sociology; and Vincent Lyon-Callo, anthropology; "Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine.'"

  • Thursday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m.
    204 Bernhard Center

    Panel discussion with WMU faculty members Drs. Fritz Allhoff, philosophy; David Rudge, biology; and Robert Anemone, anthropology; "Reflecting on 200 years of Darwin."
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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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