On the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, journalist Mark Danner wrote: “Ten years later, what was the exceptional has become the normal. The improvisations of panic are the reality of our daily lives.” Danner will expand on this theme when he delivers the College of Arts and Sciences’ annual Plummer Lecture on April 19th, “Living with the New Normal: Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Policy and the 2012 Elections.”
Danner is an award-winning journalist, author, and MacArthur Fellow who has covered politics and foreign affairs for nearly three decades, including the fall of Haitian dictatorship; the Gulf, Balkan, and Iraq wars; and more recently, issues relating to terror, torture, and the role of the United States in the world. A longtime writer for The New Yorker, his writings have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Times Book Review, among other publications. His most recent book, “Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War,” was published in 2009. Danner is also a professor at UC-Berkeley and Bard College where he teaches journalism, politics, and literature.
Danner invokes the term “state of exception” to describe those “improvisations of panic” he feels have become normal in American political life since 9/11, where instead of moral reflection and deliberation—which, in his view, the humanities facilitate—the policy of those in power has been, he writes, essentially this: “Assume the worst. Act preemptively, aggressively. Don’t hesitate. When in doubt, act.”
In his new book slated for release later this spring, “Torture and the Forever War,” Danner asks, ultimately, if people, by the kinds of choices they consider and make, can will themselves beyond this state of exception. One such set of choices—this year’s elections—will be touched upon in Danner’s talk.
Danner will speak at 1 p.m. in Florence Kopleff Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception in the lobby will follow.
The Plummer lecture is the College of Arts and Sciences' annual endowed lecture, featuring noted scholars, scientists, artists and performers who have made notable contributions to their fields of achievement and to society at large. The lecture was endowed in 1999 in honor of late Atlanta arts patron Hellen Ingram Plummer.
To learn more about Danner, including his writings and courses taught, visit www.markdanner.com