Fourth Semester as a Doctoral Student
January 15, 2011 Leave a comment
This semester is my fourth as a doctoral student at Emory. This means that come mid-may I am completely finished with coursework! Recently, I realized that this will conclude my eighth straight year of sitting in classes. I can not wait to be finished! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my entire experience of higher education, but I am ready to move on with the next step. You can only sit through so many classes before it’s time to move on to doing one’s own extended research. I have reached that point.
However, I’m still really excited for this semester. I’m enrolled in three seminars that are directly relevant to my areas of interest. The seminars I’m taking and required texts (minus articles) are listed below:
Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding with Edward L. Queen II:
This course will analyze the role religion has played (and does play) in violent conflict as well as the role that religious resources can bring to the amelioration of conflict and the processes of reconciliation. In undertaking this analysis we shall seek to advance the understanding of religions’ role in political processes and of how political and social factors influence religious thought and action. To achieve these goals we will examine social theory to see how people have attempted to understand religion and the problem of social order; undertake readings on conflict and peacebuilding to understand the frame and response of the issues; and ethnographies and case studies to understand cultural contexts and the mechanisms of ordering human life and what role they play in leading to violent conflict as well as in its resolution. Particular attention will be paid to the question of how varying models and approaches to peacemaking and reconciliation may be more appropriate at different times and in different contexts.
Gopin, Marc. Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East
Heft, James L., ed. Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Jackson, Michael. In Sierra Leone
Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence
Kleinman, Arthur. What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life Amidst Uncertainty and Danger
Lederach, John Paul. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace
Sells, Michael A. The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia
This course will focus on the law of genocide and crimes against humanity from both a legal and a historical perspective using the Holocaust as the central paradigmatic example. Special attention will be given to the Nurernberg Tribunals and the Eichmann Trial in order to determine how they helped shaped/influence subsequent genocide related trials. Students will be expected to write papers on the law of genocide within the context of the Holocaust or on the law of genocide within the context of other examples including not but limited to: Rwanda tribunals, Cambodian trials, former Yugoslavia, and South African Truth and Reconciliation.
Questions to be addressed:
1. Status of Law of Genocide pre WWII: What was the reaction to the genocide of the Armenians? How did the crime get its name? What was picture in 1939 at the outbreak of WWII? How did international law function? What role did Raphael Lemkin play?
2. World War II: Who was systematically murdered? What do we know about the German decision to commit mass murder? What were the differences in Germany’s treatment of the following groups: Jews, Gypsies, handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gays, and political dissidents?
3. The Nuremberg Trials: How was the Nuremberg tribunal established? What legal and political obstacles had to be overcome? What were the key insights of the Nuremberg Trial regarding genocide? What changed as a result of Nuremberg and why is it important? How does Nuremberg deal with the persecution of the various groups that were persecuted by the Third Reich? Does the tribunal differentiate among them? If so, how?
4. How is Eichmann trial the same or different from Nuremberg? What is the impact of the defendant’s kidnapping by a country that did not yet exist at the time of the crimes with which the accused was charged? What is the impact of the decision to have victims testify? What legal issues did the victims’ testimony raise?
5. The Eichmann Trial aftermath: What issues about perpetrators of genocide are raised by Hannah Arendt? What is the meaning of the now catchphrase, ((the banality of evil”? What are the implications of Arendt’s claims about perpetrators? Have other subsequent similar trials raised questions about her views?
6. Frankfurt Auschwitz trial: 1963: What are the implications of this, the first major trial by Germany of perpetrators of genocide? What impact does this trial have on the evolution of an international approach to dealing with genocide? What type of trial was this and how was it different than the Eichmann trials?
7. A Reversal of Positions: David Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt, 2000: What laws exist for the prosecution of those who deny genocide? Where permitted are these laws efficacious? How did this case, in which the Holocaust denier was the plaintiff, illustrate the challenge of dealing with genocide deniers?
8. Nuremberg’s Successors: Other Genocide Trials
a. Dumjanjuk v. the United States
b. Mai Lai
c. Rwanda tribunals
d. Former Yugoslavia
e. Truth and Reconciliation/Botha testimony
Power, Samantha. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
Lipstadt, Deborah E. History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier
Lipstadt, Deborah E. The Eichmann Trial
Pendas, Devin O. The Frankfurt Aushwitz Trial, 1963-65
In Pursuit of Justice: Examining the Evidence of the Holocaust
History of Christian Theological Ethics with Timothy P. Jackson
This course provides a critical look at a broad range of Christian moral theologies and theologians, from early in the fifth century to roughly the middle of the twentieth. It is meant to be a companion course to RLE 730, “Contemporary Theological Ethics,” which looks exclusively at twentieth and twenty-first century figures. We begin with St. Augustine and read selectively from Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther, Jacob Arminius, Soren Kierkegaard, and Etty Hillesum. Additional diversity of perspective will be provided, in part, by secondary essays – feminist, pragmatist, liberation¬ist, deconstructionist, or etc. – on these figures reported on by students.
Some of the enduring questions that concern us are:
• How are we to understand human nature and its virtues and vices?
• What is the nature of sin and the place of Jesus Christ in overcoming it?
• What specifically is the relation between Christ-like love, personal prudence, and
• What is the relation between God’s providence and human freedom?
• Is the Kingdom of God, a.k.a. “eternal life,” open in principle to everyone or only to the elect few?
• Does the Kingdom, esp. love and sacrifice, look different for women and men?
No claim is made to be comprehen¬sive; the object is to hit a few influential high points in a very rich tradition, noting continuity and change, as well as insight and error, as we go along.
Treatise on the Virtues, by Thomas Aquinas
Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, ed. by Anton Pegis
The Works of James Arminius, Volume 2, ed. by James Nichols
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st Series, Volume V (“Saint Augustine: Anti-
Pelagian Writings”), ed. by Philip Schaff
Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork, ed. by Eva Hoffman
Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich
The Concept of Anxiety, by Soren Kierkegaard
Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. by John Dillenberger
Again, I’m really excited for the semester. I’m finally taking – in my last semester! – the core seminar for my concentration in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, and I’m excited and interested to be taking a course at the law school and to be studying with Deborah Lipstadt who is kind of a celebrity in Holocaust studies. And of course, it’s appropriate for me to wrap up my coursework in Christian ethics reading Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Arminius. In many ways this semester’s workload embodies my work – an exercise in constructive and meaningful engagement with the most pressing issues in the world today through a particularly Christian identity and in the company of the mighty river of Christian thinkers who have come before me.