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Humanities colloquium series to address death, mourning and sacred space

Nancy Berns, Drake University associate professor of sociology, will present from her work on closure in overcoming personal loss on Friday, Feb. 12, as part of Drake’s Center for the Humanities Colloquium Series.

The free public lecture, titled “Forgetting vs. Remembering: Politics of Mourning, Sacred Space and Public Memory,” will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Medbury Honors Lounge, 2730 Forest Ave.

Berns will explain how closure plays a role in debates about roadside memorials and memorials for Columbine, 9/11 and unborn children. The argument for closure is often used to make claims about the right of access to sacred space where a loved one died.

She will argue that the main question to consider in this debate is whether closure is about forgetting or remembering their personal loss.

The author of “Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media and Social Problems,” Berns teaches courses in criminology, restorative justice, death and society, social problems and gender and violence. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Humanities Colloquium Series will continue through the spring semester with the following presentations, which will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Medbury Honors Lounge:

  • March 5 — Darcie Vandegrift, associate professor of the study of culture and society, “Global Youth Studies: The Perils and Promise of Theorizing Cross-National Youth Identity”

  • March 26 — Maura Strassberg, professor of law, “Feminist and Hegelian Perspectives on the Legal Status of Polygamy, Polyamory and Same-Sex Marriage”
  • April 9 — Stacey Tovino, director of health law and policy and associate professor of law, “Scientific Understandings of Postpartum Illness: Improving Health Law and Policy”

  • April 30 — Peiqin Zhou, visiting Fulbright Scholar, “Christianity and English Learning in Nanjing, China”

For more information about the series, contact Craig Owens, director of the Drake Center for the Humanities, at 515-271-3876 or craig.owens@drake.edu.