Monday, August 15, 2011

MediaWeek (V4, N33): The Chronicle of Higher Ed on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

In advance of the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a special issue that looks at a number of themes raised by the events of that day (Chronicle):
An Era in Ideas:

To mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, The Chronicle Review asked a group of influential thinkers to reflect on some of the themes that were raised by those events and to meditate on their meaning, then and now.The result is a portrait of the culture and ideas of a decade born in trauma, but also the beginning of a new century, with all its possibilities and problems.

A sample From Memory by Lawrence Weschler:

Get a grip, I kept finding myself thinking, as the event grew ever more fetishized over the ensuing months—the gaping hole in the skyline acquiring an idol-like status, all political life (and prior common sense) seeming to get sucked into its yawning vortex. New York was not the first city that's ever faced a terrorist attack, I kept having to remind myself, nor the first city ever to have been bombed (hell, we ourselves, as Americans, had repeatedly bombed a good many of the rest of the world's cities).

Maybe it was just that we'd imagined ourselves immune from the forces impinging on other people's lives, immune from history (history previously being defined precisely as something we did to other people, not something they ever did to us); and now suddenly that old historical machinery was clanking away big time, the chains catching hold, and it didn't feel at all good.

Nor can it be said that, historically speaking, we went on to acquit ourselves with much distinction. Londoners during the Blitz had to endure this sort of thing day after day, for weeks on end, but they didn't crumple. Under Churchill's leadership, it was as if the more the Nazis threw at them, the greater their focus, the more uncanny their calm: Far from buckling, they bucked up.They retained perspective.

For when you're under murderous assault is precisely not the time to turn your entire political culture inside out. That's what the terrorists want you to do, that's what they are dying for you to do. But you're supposed to resist that temptation.
Here are links to the rest of the individual articles:
Sheldon Solomon: Death
Steven Pinker: Terrorism
Alex Gourevitch: Fear
Terry Eagleton: Evil Scott Atran: Enemies Victor Davis Hanson: Courage
Martha C. Nussbaum: Justice Todd Gitlin: Patriotism
Lawrence Weschler: Memory
Marjorie Perloff: Language
Richard Sennett: Cooperation
Barbara Frederickson: Resilience
Omid Safi: Tolerance

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