Campus joins nationwide democracy initiative, hopes to prevent low voter turnout
THE SANTA CLARA
October 6, 2016
Though the palm-lined Santa Clara campus is a far cry from war-torn countries such as Syria, a new weekly forum is bringing discussions about violence closer to home.
Created and sponsored by the Center for Arts and Humanities, Understanding and Resisting Violence Locally and Globally is a weekly program where students can discuss the ramifications and possible solutions to national and worldwide violence and acts of brutality.
Offered as both a two unit class course and a drop-in lecture series, the forum opens the floor for students and faculty to engage in discourse about a wide range of topics from domestic violence to the use of drones as a military weapon.
“The lectures have been very insightful; they’ve certainly been very informative,” said first-year Alex Skinner, one of eight students currently enrolled in the course.
Dennis Gordon, a professor of political science, came up with the idea for the program after becoming increasingly concerned about international violence over this past summer.
“In a sense, the initial thought was mine,” Gordon said. “But it was based in part on a whole series of programs the university has done over the years on war and the environment.”
Each lecture is put on weekly by a different academic department or organization. Campus Ministry will host an event about viewing aggression through the lens of the Ignatian Examen while the Theater Department will host a student production adapted from the play “Ruined,” based on a 2009 book that won the Pulitzer Prize in the Drama category.
“It’s not designed in the sense that each (session) builds off another,” Gordon said. “It’s different topics as we go along.”
Because violence is such a broad topic, the departments behind each lecture have taken very different approaches to educating students on topics of war and hostility. Robin TremblayMcGaw, a professor in the English Department recently lectured on racial tension in America by calling to reference “Citizen,” an award-winning novel about race relations in the United States.
“The effects of living in a racist culture appear in ways that people are not always aware of,” Tremblay-McGaw said. “The book is an amazing document of that.”
The program has six more sessions this quarter and will go on hiatus for the remainder of the year following the fall term. Although Understanding and Resisting Violence was created with the intention of only 10 sessions, recent feedback from students and faculty has led Gordon to consider rejuvenating the forum for next fall.
“We have some encouragement to maybe try it again,” Gordon said.
Sessions meet at 12:10 p.m. on Tuesdays in Kenna 104 and will run through Nov. 15.
Contact Bella Rios at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852