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Repairing the Community



As part of an effort to maintain a degree of normalcy, classes were not canceled; decisions about whether to hold or attend classes in the immediate aftermath of September 11's events were left to individual faculty members and students.

Campus Programs

Campus programs designed to provide an historical context and opportunities for members of the community to inform themselves further about the events that began to unfold on September 11 were offered throughout the year. Provost and Dean of the Faculty Bourque established an ad hoc group to organize and oversee opportunities for continuing discussion and reflection. Called the Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Curricular Response to the Events of September 11, the group's members were: Martha Ackelsberg, government; Rick Fantasia, sociology; Dan Horowitz, history and American studies; Peter Gregory, religion; Elliot Fratkin, anthropology; Ravina Aggarwal, anthropology; Kevin Quashie, Afro-American studies; and Jessica Petocz and Erin Donohue, SGA Student Curriculum Committee. The group planned a series of panel discussions to be offered over the remaining weeks of the semester. Topics included:

U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia (focusing, among other things, on how the U.S. is viewed by those outside the U.S.);

The growth of religious fundamentalism around the world, with a particular focus on the different varieties of Islam;

How do we think politically and morally about responding to these events?;

Media representations; and

The politics of race and racism in international perspective.


Speakers at an all-college meeting September 11, which drew nearly 2,000 members of the student body, faculty and staff were Acting President John Connolly, Provost Susan Bourque, Dean of the College Maureen Mahoney, Dean of Religious Life Jennifer Walters, Professor of Government Donna Divine and Sally Katzen '64, former deputy director National Economic Council in the Clinton administration where she was also involved in planning scenarios designed to combat terrorist activities. (Katzen happened to be on campus that day to speak to a government department class.)

      Read Acting President John Connolly's remarks >>

On September 13, the office of the dean of the college and the dean of the faculty sponsored a faculty panel on the "Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Tuesday's Events." Panelists included Tandeka Nkiwane, government; Dan Horowitz, history and American studies; Floyd Cheung, English and American studies; Michael Klare, Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies, with Martha Ackelsberg, government department, as moderator. The discussion was followed by a campuswide candlelight walk/vigil starting on Chapin lawn and winding through the campus to a location near Paradise Pond near the boathouse. This communal response was organized by Shayna Hnatowich '02 with the help of Heidi Haghighi, Chase House, RC.

On September 14, at a luncheon, "Conversation about Teaching," members of the faculty discussed the week's events and their curricular impact. Dean of the College Maureen Mahoney and some of her staff, as well as faculty members from the School for Social Work joined the discussion.

Smith joined with the nation in observing the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks. Bells rang at noon on September 14, followed by a concert offered by music department faculty and the Smith College Glee Club in Sweeney Concert Hall.

Karen Pfeifer, Smith College economics department, and N. Gordon Levin, Amherst College history department, were the speakers at a discussion, "The Middle East Crisis: What Path Ahead?" Wednesday, September 19, at Amherst College.

Smith College students took part in a national collegiate day of action Thursday, September 20 with a noon rally on the steps of John M. Greene Hall. Students, faculty and administrators from more than 100 colleges and universities around the country gathered in support of peace, and in opposition to violence and racism.

Students from Scales, King and Jordan houses raised $840 for the Red Cross disaster relief fund at a September 23 car wash.

Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian medical doctor, writer, political activist and feminist spoke about "Women, Globalization and Fundamentalism" in Sweeney Concert Hall, Friday, September 28. El Saadawi has published 24 books in Arabic and is popular among English -speaking audiences as well. Despite her literary success, she has been repeatedly punished by the Egyptian government because her experience as a medical doctor lead her to write about the taboo issue of womanhood and sexuality. The lecture was organized by comparative literature, Afro-American studies, Meridians, and Middle Eastern studies with co-sponsors women's studies, Office of Institutional Diversity and Women and Social Change.

The Campus Climate Working Group held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 2. Discussion focused on the differing viewpoints on how to proceed with the war on terrorism and how we maintain civility in discussing the proposed responses of individuals and governments, respecting the experiences and beliefs of all members of our community.

The Department of English and the Poetry Center sponsored "What Is Found There," a lunchtime gathering "to share poems to which we have turned for comfort and understanding since September 11," Tuesday, October 2.

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund, spoke to an open meeting of WST 101 about "Gender and Reproductive Health," Thursday, October 11. Toraya Obaid is a Saudi woman who came to the United States in 1962 to attend Mills College. Preparation for those enrolled in the class includes readings about ways of making Islamic cultures accessible to Westerners, particularly with regard to women, beyond stereotypes that have tended to shape our assumptions.

Marty Nathan, director of the Greensboro Justice Fund and widow of Michael Nathan, who was killed by Ku Klux Klan members and Nazis in the 1979 Greensboro Massacre, discussed the conflicting strivings for justice, vengeance, truth and recovery for terror victims as well as the September 11 events at a lecture Monday, October 15. Her lecture was titled "Terrorism: Does Vengeance Assist Recovery?"
Robert D. Kaplan, author of "The Coming Anarchy," "Balkan Ghosts," and the forthcoming "Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos," and a long-time visitor to and expert on Afghanistan and Central Asia, spoke about "The World in 2010: Security Challenges for a New Age" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 15 at Amherst College. The lecture was co-sponsored by the department of political science at Amherst and the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies.

Larry Lifschultz, journalist and co-editor of "Why Bosnia? Writings on the Balkan War" and "Hiroshima's Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy," spoke about the history of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the U.S. and the implications for antiwar activism Tuesday, October 16 at Hampshire College. Lifschultz was based in Pakistan as a Senior Fulbright Fellow and is currently a research associate at Yale University's Center for International and Area Studies. The event was cosponsored by the Population and Development Program, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program and the FC Peace and World Security Studies Program.

Two lectures, sponsored by the Kahn Institute's project on "Religious Tolerance and Intolerance" were recommended by the ad hoc committee to develop a curricular response to the events of September 11. On Tuesday, October 23, Dr. Vamik Volkan of the Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction at the University of Virginia presented "Targeting the West: Religious Fundamentalism From a Psychoanalytic Point of View. On Wednesday, October 24, Dr. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law, presented "The Atrocities of September 11 in Islamic and Global Perspectives." Read more about the lectures.

During the month of October, a series of student-driven, faculty-moderated discussions, organized by the SGA, were held in residential areas around campus. Members of the Smith community came together to discuss their diverse opinions in open and respectful forums to explore the varying political choices that face us after the events of September 11. Members of the faculty moderated discussion among students and contribute academic and personal perspectives and opinions to the forums.

October 11 at Wilder House -- Comstock, Wilder, Morrow, Wilson and Gardner. Kevin Quashie and Anna Sloan will be faculty moderators; Rachel Jennings will be joined by other student panelists.

October 18: King House hosting King, Scales, Jordan, Emerson, Cushing

October 18: Tyler House hosting Lawrence, Tyler, Morris, Hubbard, Washburn; Don Robinson and Tandeka Nkiwane

October 23: Chapin House hosting Park, Hopkins, Haven, Tenny, 150 Elm, Chapin; Marc Steinberg and Vicky Spelman

October 23: Albright House hosting Chase, Duckett, Dawes, Albright, Baldwin, Adas and off-campus students; Dan Horowitz and Ravina Aggarwal

October 25: Cutter House hosting Parsons, Capen, Sessions, Cutter, Ziskind; Martha Ackelsberg and Elliot Fratkin

October 25: Lamont House hosting Lamont, Talbot, Northrup, Gillett; Marc Lendler

The Staff Council invites the Smith community to participate in Cut from the Same Cloth, "a visual representation of our emotions created through interactive art."

      Read more about the project >>

October 30 Panel: "Contested Geographies: History and Geopolitics in the Middle East, South and Central Asia." Panelists: Robert Haddad, professor emeritus of history, "On Muslim and Arab Hostility towards the West"; Donna Divine, professor of government, "Waging War for Heaven and Earth"; and Kavita Khory, associate professor of politics, Mount Holyoke College, "Internal and External Policies of Pakistan in Light of September 11." Moderator: Elliot Fratkin, associate professor of anthropology.

"9.11 Reflection & Response" was an exhibition of photographs made by Smith College Photography 1 students in response to the events of September 11. These images, on view at Java Net Cafe, 24 Main Street, Northampton, through November 18, were both symbolic and literal in reaction to the shock, grief, rage, disbelief, vulnerability, empathy, tenderness, strength, and hope that all have experienced, reflected upon, and to which we continue to respond.

Christine White-Ziegler of the biology department presented "Anthrax and the Biology of Bioterrorism" on Monday, November 5 as part of the 2001-02 colloquium series in the biological sciences, biochemistry, neuroscience, environmental science and marine sciences.

"The Middle East After September 11." Alan Dowty, professor of government and international studies and fellow, Joan Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Dowty has published more than 130 articles and reviews and is a commentator on Middle East policy issues. Wednesday, November 7. Sponsors: Near East studies fund and Hillel.

November 13 Panel: "The Colors of Nationalism." Moderators: Suheir Hammad, poet and activist; Ambreen Hai, English department; Alice Hearst, government department.

"Ethics and Politics: Responding to the Events of September 11," a conversation among several Smith faculty members and the audience, was held on Wednesday, November 28. Participating were: Martha Ackelsberg, government; Patrick Coby, government; Mickey Glazer, sociology; Daniel Horowitz, American studies; and Stephen Marshall, Mendenhall Fellow, government.

Students in WST 300 presented their research and analysis on the topic "September 11th and After: A Feminist Perspective" in an interactive, multi-media workshop/teach-in Wednesday, December 5.

"Activism in the Aftermath: The Future of Politics in a Post-9/11 World" was held Friday, December 7 in John M. Greene Hall. The featured speakers were Naomi Klein, journalist and author of the best-selling book "No Logo"; Mark Crispin Miller, Professor at New York University and author of The Bush Dyslexicon"; and Douglas Rushkoff, Journalist and the author of "Coercion." Video clips of other prominent scholars and activists addressing the topic of the symposium included Noam Chomsky, Nawaal el Saadawi, Robin Morgan, Howard Zinn and Rabbi Michael Lerner, among others. Sponsored by the Smith College Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Curricular Responses to 9/11, the Smith College CAP Globalization Initiative and the Media Education Foundation.

Throughout the fall, the Office of the Chaplains offered "Repairing the World: Reflections on Hope in Troubled Times" at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, weekdays from 12:30 - 12:50 p.m. The ringing of the chapel bells at 12:25 p.m. was followed by a short service of readings, silent meditation and a brief message of hope offered by a different member of the college community each day. Readings were drawn from many different religious and spiritual texts.

Dr. Patrick Clawson, former senior Defense Department analyst and economist at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and currently director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, spoke about "Why War is the Best Way to Counter Terrorism" Thursday, January 31. Responses to Clawson's lecture were provided by Gregory White of the government department and Kum-Kum Bhavnani , editor of the journal, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism.

The Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Curricular Response to the Events of September 11 co-sponsored a public forum entitled "A Stake in Civil Liberties: A Northampton Town Meeting" Monday, February 4 at First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton. Participants in the forum, introduced by Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins, addressed concerns about threats to civil liberties in the U.S. in the aftermath of September 11. Panelists included Michael Bardsley, Northampton City Council president; William Newman, director, American Civil Liberties Union of Western MA; Tandeka Nkiwane, assistant professor of government, Smith College; and Russell Sienkiewicz, Northampton police chief.

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