Forum: Civic Discourse and the Arizona Shootings

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The Center for Democratic Deliberation will be holding a "Flash Forum" to discuss the state of our civic discourse in the wake of the Arizona shootings.

The Flash Forum will commence at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 21 in the Foster Auditorium of Pattee-Paterno Library.

When Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik cited "vitriolic rhetoric" as a factor in the Arizona shootings, he sparked debates about the metaphors, images (think crosshairs), slogans, and commonplaces that comprise American political discourse.

In response to these debates, the Center for Democratic Deliberation will present a "Flash Forum"--an event organized with due speed to respond to the exigencies of the moment--to give members of our campus and community an opportunity to consider the issues raised by the tragedy in Tucson.

Participants in the Flash Forum will ask: Does language matter? Are violent metaphors partly to blame for the tragedy? Are the calls for civility misguided or on point? What traditions offer helpful approaches to the debates about language and action, about individuals and communities, about freedom and responsibility?

Featured presenters will include:

  • Matthew Jordan, College of Communication
  • Jeremy Engels, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Ellen Dannin, Dickinson School of Law
  • John P. Christman, Philosophy, Political Science, and Women's Studies

Penn State students, faculty, and community members are invited to join in the discussion and share their thoughts about civic discourse and civic violence. 

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