Institute for the Liberal Arts Series to Explore Concepts of Community

by Zach Epstein

This week, the Institute for the Liberal Arts will kick off the "Critical Examinations of 'Community'" series, discussions designed to highlight diverse understandings and experiences of the concept of community. Focused conversations will address problems related to how race, class, religion, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity intersect and manifest in the life of the College.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Christy Schuetze is organizing the series with Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and Black Studies Cheryl Jones-Walker. "Our discussion focused on the idea of 'community,'" says Schuetze, "a key word which is used frequently to characterize the people and relationships at Swarthmore, but a word which has received a lot of critical attention in many different academic disciplines."

Wednesday's inaugural panel, examining community through the lens of different disciplinary perspectives, will be a conversation featuring Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Biology Vincent Formica, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility Research Associate George Lakey, Associate Professor of German Studies and Film and Media Studies Sunka Simon, and Professor of Sociology Sarah Willie-LeBreton.

Schuetze and Jones-Walker's efforts have been supported by a steering committee for the project, which includes faculty members from across the disciplines. Members of the steering committee include: Simon; Sibelan Forrester, professor of Russian; Farha Ghannam, associate professor of anthropology; Cynthia Halpern, associate professor of political science; Nina Johnson, visiting assistant professor of sociology; Maya Nadkarni, visiting assistant professor of anthropology; and Lee Smithey, associate professor of sociology.

"We see these events as providing a basic structure for what we hope will be productive, focused, and grounded critical discussions that will draw the participation of faculty, staff, students, and alumni alike," says Schuetze.

The panel on Wed., October 9, will be held in Science Center 101 from 4:30-6 p.m.

Upcoming programming includes:

November 13, 4:30-6 p.m.
Critical Examinations of Community: Lived Experiences at Swarthmore College

February 5, 4:30-6 p.m.

Critical Examinations of Community: Text-based Discussions

March 26, 7 p.m.
Critical Examinations of Community (with John L. Jackson, the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania)