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Conference on humanitarianism, responsibility

by Cindy Weiss - October 6, 2008


Historians, writers, artists, and filmmakers from around the world will gather at the Storrs campus Oct. 10-12 to consider what constitutes responsible action in the face of a humanitarian crisis.

“In the Balance: Humanitarianism and Responsibility,” a conference organized by the Foundations of Humanitarianism program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will use panel discussions, a daylong “think tank,” film clips, and conversations with novelists to come to grips with the topic.

The conference opens with a public lecture, “A World History of Genocide,” by Ben Kiernan, author of a new book, Blood and Soil – a World History of Genocide, from Sparta to Darfur. His talk will take place on Friday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. in Konover Auditorium

Kiernan, the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History and director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, will be followed by Professor Achille Mbembe, senior researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in South Africa, who will respond to Kiernan’s talk.

A daylong think tank, moderated by UConn faculty, will take place on Saturday at the Rome Ballroom. It will include artists, novelists, and filmmakers.

Two African novelists, Nuruddin Farah and Zakes Mda, will lead a conversation facilitated by Joseph Slaughter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and author of Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law.

Sarah Nuttall, a renowned scholar from South Africa, will participate in a conference panel on “Culture, Theory, Responsibility” on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 3:15 p.m.

Independent filmmaker Ham Tran will participate in a panel discussion on “Media, Morality, and Responsibility” at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, Oct. 12, Tran’s award-winning film, Journey from the Fall, will be shown at noon in the Student Union Theatre. The film is about the emigration of a Vietnamese family to America 13 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

All conference events are open to the public. They include a book fair and lunch at Rome Ballroom on Saturday. For the complete schedule and registration, go to http://web.uconn.edu/uchi/conference.php





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