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Undergraduate Ethics Symposium Speaker Series

By Amy Brown
15 Apr 2016

From April 14-16, The Prindle Institute is holding our 9th Annual Undergraduate Ethics Symposium. Keynote addresses for the symposium are open to the public. Our theme is “Text, Tweet, Trigger: The Ethics of Communication.” Below is this year’s speaker line-up for the public series.

Thursday, April 14, 7:30pm: “Life is Triggering: What Follows” by Kate Manne, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University

Dr. Manne holds a doctorate in Philosophy from MIT. Her works deals extensively in moral philosophy (esp. metaethics, moral psychology, and practical reason), social philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Her published works in the New York Times sparked significant discourse across America about trigger warnings. Dr. Manne’s lecture will address the issue of “life is triggering” arguments against trigger warnings, and why those arguments are getting so much attention. Manne will offer two possible explanations for the attention:  the pernicious ideology of so-called victim culture, and a tacit, illicit conception of sympathy as a commodity, which people need to compete for with more or less deserving others.

Friday, April 15, 4:15pm: “Letter, Email, Text: Communicating in New Media, Then and Now” by Christopher Hager, Schaenen Visiting Scholar at the Prindle Institute; Associate Professor at Trinity College

Dr. Hager is the visiting scholar at the Prindle Institute for the 2015-16 academic year and a professor of English at Trinity College. He is currently writing a book on civil war letters titled I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters. Of special interest to Dr. Hager is how writing changes communication. His talk will focus on conducting our social lives increasingly in writing – in texting, via e-mail, and letter writing in the 19th century – and how that impacts interpersonal communication.

Friday, April 15, 7:00pm: “Trigger Warnings in Radio and Podcasts” Tim Howard, Senior Producer, Reply All 

Tim Howard is a producer of the podcast Reply All, a start-up company. In addition to working on the podcast, Howard is also a musician, recording under the name Soltero. Howard will discuss how certain stories told over radio can be so immersive that it causes listeners emotional distress. Is it the job of the reporter to protect the listener, or to make the story powerful? Howard has debated the issue with many colleagues and will explain their conclusions in his talk.

Saturday, April 16, 10:00am: “An Ethical Disaster?: Working at the Intersection of Ethics and Disaster Communication” by Abbey Levenshus, Assistant Professor, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee

Dr. Levenshus is a DePauw alumna, graduating from DePauw University in 2001 before going on to get a Master’s in Public Communication and a Doctorate in Communication. Her research focuses on government public relations, risk and crisis communication, and social media management. She has extensive experience in political communication through her work in Washington, D.C. The convergence of the government crisis management and the local response has created a dilemma, as authorities do not fully engage with local community organizations. Levenshus argues that embracing community groups is an ethical imperative for 21st century disaster management and explains why failure to do so put everyone at risk.

Full biographies of each speaker and complete abstracts can be found at these links. We hope to see you this weekend! A shuttle from the Union Building will leave for Prindle ten minutes before each talk.

Amy graduated from DePauw University in 2017, and was a Hillman Intern and the Digital Media Assistant Managing Editor at the Prindle Institute for Ethics. At DePauw, she was an Honor Scholar and Political Science major with a Russian studies minor. She has spent time abroad in the Czech Republic and now works in Washington, D.C.
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