2011-2012 Civility

The Annual Ethics Theme for 2011-2012 is Civility, and a rich and diverse set of programs and curricula is taking shape across many Departments and Centers of Distinction.  The graphic novel Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, will serve as the Common Reading to introduce and raise questions surrounding this theme for the incoming Class of 2015.

Civility could be conceived of broadly as encompassing the great variety of ways in which people accommodate themselves to others in order to convey respect and to thrive in community, whether within households, workplaces, the public arena, or our political bodies and institutions from the local to the international.

These are among the many questions that this Annual Ethics Theme and Common Reading beckon us to ponder:

  • What is civility?
  • Are humans civil by nature?
  • Why does civility matter?
  • What distinguishes civility from mere manners?
  • What is wrong about causing offense, and when is it right and acceptable to do so?
  • Why is it useful or necessary to be civil in criticizing one's political opponents?
  • Does incivility in public debate foster illogical approaches to public policy?
  • What role does civility play in day-to-day governance?
  • When is it okay to use uncivil civil disobedience in the name of fighting perceived injustice and evil?
  • How are lines to be drawn between free speech and notions of propriety?
  • Must artworks sometimes shock, offend, and even devalue in order to communicate?
  • Is incivility acceptable when used by comedians and humorists?
  • How is civility connected to issues of social class and privilege?
  • What role does civility play in science and scientific debates?
  • How should educational institutions address bullying?
  • What is civil society, and how can it be fostered?

Annual Ethics Teach-In on Civility- Thursday, September 8, 2011

Approximately fifteen presentations pertaining to the Annual Ethics Theme of Civility, led by faculty and staff members from a wide variety of disciplines.

Campus Day - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Office of Civic Engagement coordinates this campus tradition in which all students are given the day off from classes and invited to engage in service opportunities of 2-3 hours for all of the freshmen Colloquia and interested student groups.  Altogether, more than 500 people will be participating.

"Appalachian Treasures" Lecture by Austin Hall, National Field Organizer for Appalachian Voices - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Presentation on mountaintop removal and efforts to regulate and outlaw it; co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Nature and Society.

Keynote Address by Jim Leach - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be speaking on the crucial role of civility in American life and governance.

Presentation by Salman Shaikh - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Salman Shaikh, a Fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Director of the Institution's Doha Center, will address the civilization themes that emanate from Persepolis, the Common Reading for 2011-2012.  Shaikh's analysis will center on the prospects of the recent revolutions (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and others) for bringing greater dignity and improved life prospects to the citizens of the region, including the role that civility can play, and the challenges that too often thwart its development, in the interface between Middle Eastern societies and the modern, democratic countries.

Movie Showing and Discussion of Persepolis - October 19, 2011

An opportunity for the whole campus community to see the movie version of the Common Reading.

"Civility in the '60s" - October 22, 2011

Hiram College Alumni from the '60s will be on campus to discuss the atmosphere at Hiram and the political nature of the country at that time.

Panel Discussion with John P. Wilson and Jason Gatliff - November 11, 2010

Presentations centering on "Society's Ethical Obligations to Veterans," by Dr. John P. Wilson, Professor of Psychology at Cleveland State University, and Dr. Jason Gatliff, Integrated Ethics Program Officer at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Movie Showing of The Social Network - November 17, 2011

Co-sponsored with SAS and the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship

"Banned and Censored: What Should Teens Be Reading?" - March 14, 2012

Four well known regional authors of young adult (YA) works, along with a moderator, will discuss whether YA works generally are too dark, whether it is best to err towards sheltering teen readers or exposing them to the harsh realities of the grownup world, whether censorship and demands to take certain YA books off the shelf are proliferating; co-sponsored with the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature.

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