(Ashland, Ore.) – Is “agreeing to disagree” a sufficient goal for citizens in an increasingly pluralistic society? Can individuals or groups who disagree passionately about certain issues reach a point where they can listen to and learn from one another? These and other questions will be the subject of an interactive presentation by SOU professors John King and Margaret Perrow Thursday, November 3, at 7 p.m. in the Meese Room of the Hannon Library on the SOU campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Drs. King and Perrow will draw upon research from Northern Ireland and South Africa, areas recovering from years of conflict and opposition over racial or religious differences. The presentation will examine educational efforts to help students listen to and learn from those whom they have been conditioned to distrust, demean, or even dehumanize. By drawing on the experiences from these areas of intense conflict and disagreement, professors King and Perrow explore implications for our own daily interactions.Particular attention will be given to exploring the risks that students encounter in confronting claims and perspectives that challenge their own deeply held assumptions and to discovering ways to manage those risks.
Dr. Perrow is assistant professor of English education, in the department of Language, Literature and Philosophy, at Southern Oregon University, and has conducted extensive ethnographic research on youth development in post-apartheid South Africa.
Dr. King, an associate professor of education at Southern Oregon University, has both studied and facilitated programs aimed at fostering civility, understanding and dialogue across cultural and political divisions. He spent four months working with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India and six months with a cross-cultural reconciliation program for Protestant and Catholic high schoolers in Northern Ireland.
The presentation continues the SOU Campus Theme Series on Civility. Each year, SOU selects a universal theme, creating opportunities for the campus and community to engage in intellectually stimulating and healthy conversations across disciplines on a topic important to us all. The series will continue with additional lectures and panel discussions throughout the year.
For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Morris (541 552-6740) or Dr. Prakash Chenjeri (541 552-6034).
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