LAWRENCE — Overcoming racism, xenophobia and other identity-based conflicts requires a deeper understanding of the nature of our humanity, suggests a psychology scholar set to speak this month at the University of Kansas.
Michael Penn, professor of psychology at Franklin & Marshall College, will explore “The Journey Out of the Racial Divide: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit” during a free public lecture at 3 p.m. Oct. 31 in the Commons at Spooner Hall. Penn’s talk is sponsored by the University of Kansas Libraries, KU School of Law and Peace & Conflict Studies in KU’s Humanities program.
For 25 years, Penn has focused his research and teaching on the world’s most challenging problems, including violence against women and girls, racism and intergroup conflict, hopelessness and the challenge of relational authenticity.
As part of this ongoing work, Penn’s lecture will provide a rational account of the nature of the human spirit and will explore how humanity can move forward in this tumultuous time.
“Modern movements designed to overcome the 500-year legacy of racism must better understand, embody and exploit a more universal notion of what it means to be human,” Penn said. “Social movements must be grounded in the recognition that the long-term protection of humanity requires respect for and cultivation of those universal moral, intellectual and spiritual capacities that are embodied in the notion of the human spirit.”
Organizers hope Penn’s presentation will help advance campus dialogue.
“Led by its students and supported by faculty and staff, the KU community has been working hard to fully accept and understand the modern implications of race and racism on campus, in America and in the world,” said Lua Kamal Yuille, associate professor of law. “Dr. Penn will help us push these conversations to a new level by asking, ‘What’s next?’”
This lecture is part of the Framing the Dialogue series, presented by The Commons in collaboration with campus partners and visiting scholars.