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"Seeking the Common Good" Spring 2009

Story posted January 09, 2009


The yearlong series of public events "Seeking the Common Good" reflects the McKeen Center’s role to encourage and support learning and reflection about the meaning of the common good and to promote exploration of major public issues. Emphasizing cross-disciplinary engagement in inquiry and debate that reaches beyond Bowdoin, this series links the study of topics in academic courses to their exploration in a multiplicity of other venues. Lectures, symposia, films, exhibitions and performances in this series will focus on particular visions for achieving some element of “the common good” through examination of compelling problems or issues, and efforts to address them locally, nationally and internationally.

McKeen Center

This semester's agenda begins in January and February with "Embodying Inequality," which explores the consequences of unequal access to health care resources and calls attention to responses to these inequities within the United States and abroad.

In March and April, the schedule shifts to "Seeking Equity through Education," which brings together educators, educational policy experts, and social activists from diverse settings to address inequalities in schools and examine possibilities for change.

"Climate Matters," to be held on April 9 and 10, focuses the entire campus on issues of climate change and the College's efforts to develop a climate action plan and achieve carbon neutrality.

The series concludes in May with "Redefining the Common Good after Communism," a conference that explores the changing meanings of the common good for citizens of post-communist states who have experienced social, economic, and political upheaval during the past two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union, and "Celebrating Campus-Community Collaborations," a symposium in which students share the course projects they have completed in the community this semester in partnership with local agencies.

Click on each topic above to learn more about that portion of the series.

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information, contact the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good at 798-4156. Sponsors and Partners: Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Committee, Biology, Education, Environmental Studies, Government, Gender and Women’s Studies, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology.

Complete Schedule

Embodying Inequality (January and February)

Embodying Inequality calls attention to the consequences of unequal access to health care resources and responses to these inequities within the United States and abroad.

Monday, January 26
Film screening: Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and in Health (Episode 1)
7:30 p.m., Searles 315
Winner of the DuPont-Columbia Award in broadcast journalism, this far-reaching documentary series about national and international health care begins with the fundamental question of why we get sick, and how patterns of health and illness mirror patterns of socioeconomic and racial inequality. Discussion following the film with Susan Bell, A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences and Norma Swenson, Faculty, Harvard School of Public Health.

Monday, February 2
Film screening: Unnatural Causes: Collateral Damage (Episode 6)

7:30 p.m., Searles 315
Through the story of Marshall Islanders in the equatorial Pacific displaced by U.S. nuclear testing, this episode in the award-winning series on global health inequalities helps explain why a small fraction of the 2 billion people worldwide who are infected with the TB bacillus actually contract the disease. Discussion following the film with Anne McBride, Associate Professor of Biology and June Fu O'Leary, Adjunct Lecturer in Economics.

Thursday, February 5
“Health Care Inequity and Ethical Responsibility”

Public Lecture by Daniel Wikler, Harvard School of Public Health
7:30 p.m., Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center
The first Staff Ethicist for the World Health Organization, and currently Mary B. Saltonstall Professor of Population Ethics and Professor of Ethics and Population Health, Professor Wikler addresses ethical issues in the allocation of health resources in developing countries.

Seeking Equity Through Education (March and April)

Seeking Equity through Education brings together educators, educational policy experts and social activists from diverse settings to address inequities in schools.

Thursday, March 26
Panel Discussion: Seeking Equity through Education: Voices from the Field

Robert Blaney '99, Nora Dowley ‘04, LeRoy Gaines ’02, Michael Felton ’00
7:30 p.m., Smith Auditorium
The voices of different constituents in educational policy offer various approaches to the struggle for educational equity during this panel discussion. Moderated by Nancy Jennings, Associate Professor of Education.

Thursday, April 2
Panel Discussion: Seeking Equity through Education: Voices from the Urban Classroom

Melissa Goodrich (Lyons) ‘01, Peter Hill ‘02, Sam Kamin ‘08, Bridget Keating ‘08
7:30 p.m., Smith Auditorium
Bowdoin graduates teaching in urban settings explore the rewards and challenges in responding to inequities in schools during the panel discussion. Moderated by Doris Santoro, Assistant Professor of Education.

Friday, April 3
Common Hour with Geoffrey Canada '74: “Winning the War on Poverty through Education”

12:30 p.m., Pickard Theater
Pioneering educational reformer Geoffrey Canada '74 shares stories of the Harlem Children’s Zone, one of the most ambitious social change programs in the U.S., seeking to break the cycle of poverty for children and families living in a 97-block area of New York City.

Climate Matters (April 9 and 10)

Climate Matters focuses the entire campus on issues of climate change and the College’s efforts to develop a climate action plan and achieve carbon neutrality. Climate Matters events are open to Bowdoin Students, Faculty and Staff.  Tickets for Common Hour with Majora Carter are required; tickets available beginning Monday, March 23, at the David Saul Smith Union information desk.

Thursday, April 9
Bowdoin Climate Fair and Symposium

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Morrell Lounge
Students, faculty, staff and community join together with poster presentations, performances art and food that highlight climate change issues and the College’s plans for achieving carbon neutrality.

Friday, April 10
Common Hour with Majora Carter, Founder, Sustainable South Bronx: “The Green Economy/Green Jobs”

12:30 p.m., Pickard Theater
Winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, environmental revitalization strategist Majora Carter is a relentless crusader for environmental justice through innovative and economically sustainable projects that build community and the green-collar economy.

Redefining the Common Good after Communism (May 1)

Redefining the Common Good after Communism explores the changing meanings of the common good for citizens of post-communist states who have experienced social, economic and political upheaval during the past two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the final demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Conference: Redefining the Common Good After Communism
8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Main Lounge, Moulton Union

Session One: Return of the State: Protecting the “Common Good”
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Examines the role of the Russian state in protecting citizens’ rights and ensuring their welfare

Session Two: Popular Ideas of the Common Good in Putin’s Russia
10:45 – 12:15 p.m.
Explores efforts to define and shape notions of morality and social responsibility in Russia today.

Session Three: Class, the Market and the Common Good
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Considers how growing inequality in the post-communist region influences ideas about the common good.

Session Four: Living the Common Good after Communism
3:15 – 4:45 p.m.
Investigates how consumption, globalization, and religious revival affect ideas about citizenship and social justice in Eastern Europe.

Keynote Address: “Capitalism and the Common Good: What’s Left of Marx?”
Ronald Suny, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Chicago
7:30 p.m.

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Learn and reflect about the meaning of the common good and engage in exploration of major public issues.