Symposium Against Indifference

Today’s ever-evolving world calls for open dialogues to facilitate conversation and promote change.

The College of Arts & Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement.

The Symposium Against Indifference seeks to challenge the Ashland University community and the wider Ashland community toward a deeper understanding of difficult affairs in order to encourage creative personal and corporate responses.

2021-2022 Symposium: Truth in the Age of Disinformation

The 2021-2022 Symposium Against Indifference theme seeks to understand the nature of truth during a time in our history when disinformation, in its various forms, appears more prevalent. We want to encourage conversation and discussion to find productive responses to overcoming obstacles in the search for truth in the midst of confusion and uncertainty.

Index of Events

  • Oct
    October 7, 2021 to November 7, 2021
    4:30pm to 6:30pm

    This exhibition features three groupings of porcelain sculptures by artist Kimberly Chapman: Bridled Women, Elsie’s Arsenal and the Refugee Series. There is a history of disinformation and false claims being used against women. This exhibition centers on what’s left behind after terrible things happen through the lens of women and children. The eerie, delicate white porcelain sculptures shed light on these dark topics. The artwork calls upon past experiences as well as emotionally charged sociopolitical issues for its content. By exploring topics like silencing women, the danger of the refugee plight and domestic violence, viewers are given an opportunity to contemplate such prevalent issues in today’s contemporary culture.

    Exhibition runs through Nov. 7 Coburn Art Gallery
    Opening Reception Oct. 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

    Co-Sponsored by the Department of Art + Design

  • Dec
    December 3, 2021

    Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are at the center of debates about the integrity of U.S. elections and the limits of free speech. Are these platforms responsible for policing disinformation? What free-speech rights should citizens, journalists, and politicians have online?

    Sohrab Ahmari is the op-ed editor of the New York Post, a columnist for First Things, and a contributing editor of the Catholic Herald. Previously, he served as a columnist and editor with the Wall Street Journal opinion pages in New York and London, and as senior writer at Commentary. In addition to those publications, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Spectator, Dissent, and America.

    Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium
    Friday, October 15, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

    Co-Sponsored by the Ashbrook Center

  • Feb
    February 9, 2022
    “Climate change is a hoax—and so is coronavirus.” “Vaccines are bad for you.” These days, many of our fellow citizens reject scientific expertise and prefer ideology to facts. They are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. They cite cherry-picked evidence, rely on fake experts, and believe conspiracy theories. How can we convince such people otherwise? How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don’t believe in facts? In this talk, Lee McIntyre will argue that anyone can fight back against science deniers, and that it’s important to do so, because science denial can kill. His talk will offer tools and techniques for

    communicating the truth and values of science, emphasizing that the most important way to reach science deniers is to talk to them calmly and respectfully—to put ourselves out there, to meet them face to face.

    Lee McIntyre is a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and an Instructor in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. He is the author of several books, including The Scientific Attitude, Post-Truth, and Respecting Truth.

    Trustee’s Room, Upper Convocation Center
    Wed. Feb. 9 2022 at 7:30 p.m.

    Co-Sponsored by the Ashland University Honors Program

  • Feb
    February 25, 2022

    Since its inception in 2014 after the Michael Brown shooting in the St. Louis area, the Truth-Telling Project has engaged communities in thoughtful and empathetic responses to the problems of racism and violence in our society. For this event, we will have a member of this organization share their commitment to structural change, truth-telling and healing in our society.

    Dr. David Ragland is one of the co-founders and co-executive director of the Truth Telling Project and the director of the Grassroots Reparations Campaign. Ragland is a writer, scholar and activist. Ragland recently published a series on reparations in Yes magazine. He currently teaches In-Depth Psychology, Eco-Psychology and Community Liberation at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Ragland co-founded the Truth Telling Project so that marginalized voices could be heard and move society to lay a groundwork for healing, reconciliation and social transformation. Georgetown University’s Advocacy lab included Ragland’s research as part of the “most important research on advocacy” in the last 40 years. Ragland was recently inducted into the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College. In the past, Ragland served as the Senior Bayard Rustin Fellow at the Fellowship of Reconciliation, board member for the Peace and Justice Studies Association and was the United Nations representative for the International Peace Research Association.

    Dauch 105
    Friday, Feb. 25, 2022 at 7 p.m.

    Co-Sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence

  • Feb
    February 25, 2022 to February 26, 2022

    7th Annual John D. Stratton Conference

    The Ashland Center for Nonviolence is pleased to announce the 7th Annual John D. Stratton Conference to be held at Ashland University February 25-26, 2022. The theme of the conference is Satyagraha: Nonviolence in the Gandhi-King Tradition. 

    Keynote Speaker: Friday, February 2022 at 7pm, Dauch 105

    In conjunction with the Ashland University College of Arts and Sciences' Symposium Against Indifference, the 7th annual John D. Stratton Conference will begin with The Truth Telling Project and the Violence of Institutional Racism. Dr. David Ragland is one of the co-founders and co-executive directors of the Truth Telling Project and of the Grassroots Reparations Campaign. Ragland is a writer, scholar, and activist. Ragland co-founded the Truth Telling Project so that marginalized voices could be heard and move society to lay a groundwork for healing, reconciliation, and social transformation. 

  • Apr
    April 4, 2022

    Ever since the Founding Era, Americans have been debating the problem of disinformation in a country committed to freedom of the press. This event will bring an historic perspective to “Truth in the Age of Disinformation” by discussing the ways in which the contentious political atmosphere of the 1790s led to one of the most acrimonious elections in our history, as well as a controversial 1798 law that made it illegal to criticize the federal government.

    Robert M.S. McDonald is professor of History at the United States Military Academy. He is author of Confounding Father: Thomas Jefferson’s Image in His Own Time (University of Virginia Press, 2016).

    Schar College of Education Room 138, Ronk Lecture Hall
    Monday, April 4, 2022 at 7 p.m.

    Co-Sponsored by the Ashbrook Center

Previous Symposium Themes

  • Holocaust - 2001

  • Human Nature - 2003

  • Terrorism - 2005

  • The Promises and Perils of Technology - 2007

  • Inquiry Into What Makes a Hero - 2009

  • Against Global Indifference - 2011

  • Engaging Latin America and the Caribbean - 2013

  • Environmental Sustainability - 2015

  • Building Bridges Through Dialogue - 2017

  • Liberty & Responsibility - 2019

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