Divided We Fall—MMU explores the state of our nation’s democracy

Mount Mercy University invites the community to be a part of its 2017 Fall Faculty Series, Divided We Fall: Finding Common Ground in a Fractured Age, a three-month series that explores how today's biggest issues can be resolved through courage and compassion.

“In the early months of 2017, it became clear that the United States is a divided nation,” said Joy Ochs, series coordinator and professor of English. “Hashtags such as #buildthewall and #resist were swirling about. The Mount Mercy faculty felt that it was important to step back and take stock of the state of our democracy and what it means to be a citizen in 2017. In a political atmosphere where there seems to be a lot of shouting, we want to address issues with the Mercy charism of courage and compassion.”

Each of the 16 events focuses on a different aspect of democracy and citizenship—from the role of free press, to the impact minority groups have had in shaping our nation.

“The goal is to examine our divided nation through different perspectives—tax-payer funded medical research, women's rights, civil discourse, the structure of government—in order to facilitate an inclusive discussion about the current state of our nation, what it has been and what we want it to be,” Ochs said about the fourth annual series. “Attendees can choose topics that interest them, while also exploring topics they may have not thought about.”

Divided We Fall kicks off with a series overview on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall on Mount Mercy’s campus at 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids. Assistant Professor of Political Science Richard Barrett, Ph.D., will open with a presentation on what it means to be a citizen in a representative democracy.

Other public event highlights:

  • “Fake News and the Free Press” with Associate Professor of Communication Joe Sheller on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. in Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile Hall)
  • “Great White Hoax: Racism, Divide-and-Conquer, and the Politics of Trumpism,” a presentation by Tim Wise, prominent anti-racist writer and educator, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in McAuley Theatre
  • “Pope Francis and the Message of Peace,” a presentation by Matthew Ashley, Ph.D., theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy, Busse Center
  • “Let’s Talk: Finding Common Ground” with Associate Professor of Communication Dave Klope, Ph.D., on Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall
  • “Putting the Care in Health Care” with Special Appointment for Biology Danielle Rudd, Ph.D., on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile Hall)
  • “From the Suffragettes to the Women’s March: Feminism for Everyone” with Assistant Professor of English Eden Wales-Freedman, Ph.D., on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Flaherty Community Room (204 Basile Hall)
  • “Protest 101: How to Be an Effective Activist” with Assistant Professor of Sociology Taylor Houston, Ph.D., on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall
  • A 3:30 p.m. poetry performance and 7 p.m. talk on Oct. 26 in McAuley Theatre with Visiting Writer Drew Dellinger, who has dedicated his career to justice, ecology, cosmology and compassion
  • “Economics: Rationality or Compassion” with Associate Professor of Economics Ayman Amer, Ph.D., on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall

The semester-long series will run through Nov. 9 and end with Gallery Reception: Critical Concerns. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For more information and a complete list of events, visit mtmercy.edu/common-ground.

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