February 10, 2011

Remembering Jean Donovan and Promoting Social Justice at CWRU, Feb. 25 and 26

Jean Donovan
Jean Donovan

The Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University will examine issues of human rights, liberation theology and historical memory by revisiting the Dec. 2, 1980, murders of university alumna Jean Donovan and three other churchwomen killed by militant death squads in El Salvador. The SJI will honor Donovan during the 2011 Jean Donovan International Social Justice Conference, “Repression, Resistance and Transformation in Central America,” Feb. 25 and 26, at the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence in Crawford Hall.

The free, public event is cosponsored by the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America and campus organizations, including the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, Hallinan Project for Peace and Social Justice, the Inamori Center, Inter-Religious Council and Share the Vision.

Donovan, who was from Connecticut, was murdered while volunteering through a Cleveland church mission program. An outcry emerged against U.S. support in Central America after Donovan and three Catholic nuns were discovered in a shallow unmarked countryside grave.

The program begins Friday evening with the showing of filmmakers Ana Carrington and Bernard Stone’s 56-minute documentary, Roses in December, at 6 p.m. A discussion with responses follows.

A visual investigation into the story of Donovan, who was 27 at the time, and sisters Ida Ford, Maura Clarke and Dorothy Kazel (an Ursuline nun from Cleveland), sets the stage for Saturday’s human rights and liberation theology discussions.

The event continues on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with several panel discussions—“God, Power and Revolution: Politics of Liberation Theology,” at 10 a.m. and “Confronting History and State Violence, Then and Now,” at 1:30 p.m. Marixa Lasso, an associate professor who specializes in Latin American history and politics, will moderate the afternoon session.

Contributing guest speakers are:

  • Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens, associate professor of history at California State University, Northridge, researches the intersection of missionary work and indigenous people and offers perspectives on liberation theology and progressive Catholicism.
  • Michael E. Lee, assistant professor of theology in the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute at Fordham University, is the author of the monograph, Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría, SJ. Interested in liberation theology and U.S. and Latino theologies, Lee has undertaken an investigation of the life and theology of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, with a focus on U.S. Latino theology.
  • Sister Sheila Marie Tobbe (O.S.U.) is the executive director of the Thea Bowman Center in Cleveland. The center is devoted to creating a safe community in Cleveland’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.
  • Jeffrey L. Gould, the Rudy Professor of history and director of Indiana University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, works in the area of Central American movements, ethics conflicts and political violence. His first book focused on labor and peasant movements in Nicaragua. Currently he has turned to the massacres of Indians and peasants in El Salvador.
  • Elizabeth Oglesby, an associate professor in geography and the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, brings an interdisciplinary background of Latin American studies, geography and sociology—particularly in Guatemala—to the discussion. She also will discuss her personal experiences of working for nongovernmental organizations in Central America.
  • Adrienne Pine, the author of Working Hard, considers herself a working militant medical anthropologist. The assistant professor of anthropology at American University, Pine has working experiences in Honduras, Mexico, Korea, the United States and Egypt.

For more information and registration, go online.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, February 10, 2011 07:56 AM | News Topics: Lectures/Speakers

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.