Chautauqua: Evil Men

2:30 PM  - 3:30 PM
Tuesday May 20, 2014
JB Davis Lecture Hall, Lower Level, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center

Facilitator(s): Dr. James Dawes, English Professor

Is evil something we can talk about? Since the end of World War II, societies have shown a strong inclination to document and publicize atrocities as a warning about human society's most horrific capacities, certain in the conviction that greater information is a sure antidote to ignorance and complacency. For James Dawes, this certainty masks the true difficulty of coming to grips with the idea of evil. In his most recent book, published in 2013, Dawes uses his experiences interviewing war criminals from Japan's invasion of China during World War II to reflect on both the raw simplicity and the infinite complexity of the idea of evil at its most basic.

By representing atrocity, are we giving voice, and therefore respect, to the victims who have been silenced? Or are we sensationalizing the private stories of those who have already been violated? When we take evil that is beyond understanding and put it into words, are we bringing healing clarity to the raw confusion of trauma? Or are we falsely packaging and simplifying something that ought never to be reduced, translating inexpressible evil into something common just for the sake of sharing a story?

Contact: Becca Klein, , 651-696-6053

Sponsored By: Employment Services, English

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