Human Nature -- Human Rights

The Penn Humanities Forum presents Human Nature--Human Rights from March 20-25. This week of lectures, films, performances and walking tours invites people to explore the connection between ideas of human nature and human rights. Dr. Wendy Steiner, the founding director of Penn Humanities Forum wrote: "The insistence on the universality of rights depends on the belief that we are all 'members of the human family,' requiring security, freedom, employment and education in order to be fulfilled. This idea of human nature is not a given."

Each day will focus on different topics as listed below. On the final day the focus will be on Philadelphia as a crucial site of the enuncition and defense of human rights, and sometimes of their violation. The complete schedule of events can be found on the website at

Monday, March 20 American Civil Rights

The opening day will include welcoming and opening remarks from Wendy Steiner, the Richard L. Fisher Professor of English and director of the Penn Humanities Forum, and Peter Conn, Deputy Provost. The Film Series and Commentary program features Juan Williams, author and journalist at 6 p.m., rm. 17 Logan Hall.

Tuesday, March 21 Women's Rights

Day two of the conference will feature the Lief Lecture Woman --An Intimate Geography with guest speaker Natalie Angier, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Dunlop Auditorium.

Other featured speakers in the evening include Jeanne Mareck, professor of psychology, Swarthmore College; Wendy Steiner, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English, director, Penn Humanities Forum; Ingrid Waldron, professor and undergraduate chair of biology and Donna and Larry Shelley Term Chair in Women's Studies; 5:30 ­7 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House,1515 Cherry St. RSVP required (215) 573-8280.

Wednesday, March 22 Holocaust

At 4:30 at Kelly Writers House a Video Testimony by Holocaust Survivors will be discussed, lead by Al Filreis, professor of English. Speakers include: Millicent Marcus, Romance Languages; Harry Reicher, Law; Barbie Zellizer, communication.RSVP (215) 573-WRIT.

Thursday, March 23 Human Rights in the Balkans and Islam

Am I Not Our Lord? Theomorphism and Its Ramifications in the Islamic Doctrine of Human Nature; 4:30 p.m., location TBA.

Friday, March 24 Human Rights in Africa

The Human Rights Conference will take place from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Terrace Room, Logan Hall and will feature Ngugi wa Thiong', a Kenyan writer, and others TBA.

Saturday, March 25 Human Nature--Human Rights in Philadelphia

A 9:30 breakfast meeting on civil rights at the White Dog by writer and English professor Paul Hendrickson.

At 9:30 a.m. Poor Richard's Walking Tours, Life & Liberty: Struggles for Human Rights in Philadelphia. The tour through the streets of Philadelphia remind the participant of the historic struggles for human rights. This tour is offered again from noon-2:30 p.m. Tickets $10, call (215) 573-8280.

Beginning at noon Eminent Domain--A Forum on Narratives of Dispossession, Exile, and Return will take place. The forum will use stories, monologues, music, poetry and academic presentations to examine historical, folkloric, mythological, and sociological stories of dispossession, exile, and return. The location TBA.

As a closing to the week-long conference a forum, Civic Forum: Human Nature-Human Rights will take place from 3-5 p.m at WHYY Studios. Scheduled speakers: Nadine Strossen, president, ACLU; William Schulz, executive director, Amnesty International--USA; Charles Kernaghan, chairperson, National Labor Committee; Samuel Freeman, professor of phlosophy.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 24, March 7, 2000

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