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Fall 2023


Peg O’Connor, Professor in Philosophy
"The Moral Crisis of Childhood Trauma: Hindering the Essential Arts of Personhood"
Friday, September 22 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center

Abstract:
We have known for decades that childhood trauma and adverse experiences are pervasive and arguably one of the biggest on-going health crises. The pandemic was an accelerant on an already existing fire. More children became vulnerable and those already vulnerable became more so. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in 2021. This increasing crisis is multilayered; personal and interpersonal dimensions are woven tightly with social, political, and economics dimensions. There are moral dimensions as well, though these have received scant attention. There is a variety of moral dimensions including the reasons and the ways that individuals, groups, and institutions perpetuate trauma. My focus is on the complex ways that trauma experienced by children affects not only their present well-being but their well-being into adulthood. What are the compounding effects and the legacies of trauma? My claim is that many of these children now and as adults in the future are hindered in becoming, being treated, and recognizing themselves as full-fledged persons. “Person” is a normative category; it is not merely descriptive. A person is one who has cultivated certain skills or what Annette Baier calls “essential arts,” to navigate and engage with others in the world. There are many essential arts one needs to acquire and practice in order to be regarded as a person. The ones on which I focus are imagining, having empathy, hoping well, having bodily dominion, and maintaining self-possession. These skills form a constellation, which others can recognize and respond to with respect. These arts also are necessary for a person to develop self-respect and exercise agency. Self-respect includes a sense of intrinsic worth and dignity. Agency is the ability to form intentions, deliberate, and act and respond appropriately. When these essential arts are hindered as they are in children who have been traumatized, there may be millions of people who do not see themselves as persons or who are not treated as persons. This is a full-blown moral crisis.

Lisa Ortmann, Assistant Professor in Education
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Friday, October 13 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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John Bailey, Visiting Assistant Professor in Environment Geography and Earth and teaches in in Geology and Geography
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Friday, October 27 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Colleen Stockmann, Assistant Professor in Art and Art History
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Friday, November 17 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Colin Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology
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Friday, December 1 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Spring 2023

Jeff Jenson, College and Lutheran Church Archivist / Associate Professor in Library
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Friday, February 16 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Lai Sze Tso, Research Professor (Population Studies and Demography), Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology, and Faculty Affiliate in Scandinavian Studies and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies 
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Friday, March 1 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Angela Walczyk, Visiting Assistant Professor in Biology
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Friday, March 15 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Hagar Attia, Assistant Professor in Communication Studies
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Friday, April 5 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Darío Sánchez-González, Associate Professor in Modern Languages, Literature, and Cultures; Spanish; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; and LALACS
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Friday, April 19 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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Martha Ndakalako, Assistant Professor in English
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Friday, May 3 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center
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