SCC's Democracy Days to Commemorate 9/11

Themed "9/11: 10 Years After," SCC's annual educational forum will include presentations on bioterrorism, information control and post-9/11 democracy movements in the Middle East.

September 02, 2011

“9/11: 10 Years After” is the theme of the 11th annual Democracy Days educational forum at St. Charles Community College, taking place Sept. 12-15, 2011, in the auditorium of the Social Sciences Building. The program is free and open to the public.

Presentations on bioterrorism, information control, the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, post-9/11 democracy movements in the Middle East, the varieties of responses to the 9/11 attacks and a variety of philosophical issues round out the program. As in years past, the presentations are democratic in form, leaving ample time for discussion of the critical issues.

“Surveying the terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001 makes sense for this year’s Democracy Days forum,” said Michael Kuelker, SCC professor of English and event organizer. “A decade ago, many of our incoming freshman class were in single digits age-wise. These students are coming of age at a time when it is more important than ever to have a knowledge base that’s deep and broad about one of the seminal episodes in this nation’s recent history. This forum is a step in that direction for them and for anyone else on campus and in the general public who wishes to learn about and discuss these issues.”

A panel discussion involving history and political science faculty will explore the contexts and meaning of the U.S. Patriot Act, one of the defining pieces of legislation of the last decade. In another panel, Kathleen Sanker, SCC associate professor of art, and her advanced digital photography students will present and discuss the work of photographer Joel Meyerowitz, who was allowed unprecedented access to the World Trade Center site in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

The forum concludes with “Rebirth,” a 2011 documentary film which follows seven years in the lives of five people affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The film is co-sponsored by SCC Student Activities and the SCC Psychology Department.

The mission of SCC’s Democracy Days is to explore the history, health and functioning of democracy in America and the world at large. Democracy Days, held annually around Constitution Day (Sept. 17), will include participation from SCC faculty, staff, administrators and students, as well as community members.

For more information on SCC’s Democracy Days, contact Kuelker at mkuelker@stchas.edu.

Democracy Days 2011 Agenda and Descriptions
Presentations will take place Sept. 12-15 in the auditorium of the Social Sciences Building.

Monday, Sept. 12
11-11:50 a.m. – Big Brother is Tweeting You: The Control of Information in the Age of Terror

When the U.S. was attacked by terrorists in 2011, major changes were made to how the government protects, utilizes and manipulates information in the name of national security. Bob Gill, SCC instructional media manager, presents a highly visual multimedia talk about how the war on terror has led to a brave new world of information management and will explore some of the philosophical issues surrounding censorship and political freedom. A 40-minute presentation will be followed by a discussion of the topic “Is Democracy Possible in an Age of Manufactured Consent?”

1-2:20 p.m. – Bioterrorism and Public Health: Government Efforts to Protect Against Bioterrorist Attacks After 9/11
Steve Randoll, SCC associate professor of history, explores the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when various government public health agencies stepped up their efforts to defend against the use of disease agents by terrorist groups. Such efforts did more than protect people against deliberately engineered bioterrorist agents (e.g. the anthrax attacks of 2002). The side benefit of these public health efforts included protection against natural outbreaks of disease, including the SARS outbreak of 2003, the H5N1 outbreak of 2003 and the H1N1 influenza epidemic of 2009. Even though it is now 10 years after 9/11, the means of containing epidemics, whether of terrorist or natural origin, remains an ongoing public health concern in the U.S.

Tuesday, Sept. 13
10-11:20 a.m. – Where Were You on 9/11?

Vicky Herbel, SCC associate professor of sociology, leads a session focusing on recollections of 9/11 from both the perspective of those who live in the U.S. and the perspectives of others around the world. In addition to sharing stories of “I remember when…,” audience members will have the opportunity to discuss perspectives of 9/11 from other cultural/political societal points of view.

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – Joel Meyerowitz’s Images From Ground Zero (Panel Discussion)
Only two days after the fall of the World Trade Center towers, the mayor of New York City closed the area to any and all photographers – except Joel Meyerowitz, who appealed to the mayor’s office and to the Museum of the City of New York that there must be a historical document of what had occurred. He was thus granted official permission to photograph the aftermath of the attack and the remains, recovery and removal of the debris and bodies from ground zero. SCC’s advanced digital photography students will lead a discussion of Meyerowitz’s photographs and the breadth and scope of his work’s impact on the historical understanding of these tragic events as well as the healing of the social wounds inherent in such a disaster of this magnitude. A lively discussion and question answer session will follow a slide presentation.

Wednesday, Sept. 14
10-11:20 a.m. – Why “Cosmoipolitanism” in a Global Age?

Jon Bowman, SCC assistant professor of philosophy, traces religion and philosophy in the post-9/11 world, incorporating the thought of Charles Taylor and Jurgen Habermas. Bowman introduces a new philosophical outlook, “cosmoipolitanism,” a term he uses in contrast to “cosmopolitanism” (which would advocate a democratized U.N.) and in contrast to patriotism (keep decisions at the national democratic level). He will contend that “cosmoipolitanism” better integrates religious worldviews into democratic politics, focusing on Islam in the U.S. and EU.

Noon-12:50 p.m. – The Patriot Act: Reasonable Action to Protect the Nation? Or Unwarranted Reaction at a Time of Fear? (Panel Discussion)
Hal Berry, SCC professor of history and theater, moderates a discussion involving Ron Pettus, SCC associate professor of political science, Randoll and Debra Crank Lewis, SCC professor of history. They will explore the history of laws enacted to limit civil rights, how those laws impacted Americans at the time and how history has evaluated their usefulness.

1-2:20 p.m. – The Prison at Guantanamo
Reviewing literature published from 2002 to present, Michael Kuelker, SCC professor of English, will survey some of the critical issues of democracy surrounding the infamous U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Attendees will receive an extensive timeline prepared specifically for this presentation.

Thursday, Sept. 15
10-11:20 a.m. – Democracy Movements and U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East Since 9/11

Paul Roesler, SCC professor of political science, will discuss the U.S. approach to democratic reforms since 9/11. Roesler will address the 2006 Palestinian elections as well as the recent wave of pro-democracy movements throughout the Middle East.

1-2:20 p.m. – The Deconstruction of 9/11 and its Consequences
Isaac Ruedin, SCC associate professor of philosophy, will offer a critical exegesis of Jacques Derrida’s 2003 postmodern interpretation of 9/11 by examining it in the light of the work of French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

6-8 p.m. – “Rebirth,” Film and Discussion
How do people cope with extreme trauma? Director Jim Whitaker’s new not-for-profit feature (proceeds go to advance 9/11-related education) focuses on five people who lost someone or something in the tragedy, and follows them through each year as they attempt to heal and find a new sense of normalcy in their lives. The 2011 documentary film is co-sponsored by SCC Student Activities and the SCC Psychology Department, with a discussion to follow the film.

Established in 1986, St. Charles Community College is celebrating 25 years as a public, comprehensive two-year community college with associate degrees and certificate programs in the arts, business, sciences and career-technical fields. SCC provides workforce training and community-based personal and professional development as well as cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities. For more information, visit www.stchas.edu.

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