By Rachel Revelle
Sometimes I’m really not sure what to say in this public space—I hope I give an interesting viewpoint on subjects here and there—but if nothing else I can pass on the wisdom of others. If you haven’t seen this page on the Kenan website, go check out our Faculty and Fellows blogs. The talented and creative faculty and senior fellows who are associated with the Institute contribute to a number of public forums, offering an informal way to engage with their areas of expertise.
Chris MacDonald, a KIE Nonresident Senior Fellow on post in Toronto leading the Jim Pattison Ethical Leadership Education & Research Program at Ryerson University, keeps us informed on intriguing questions in business ethics with his Business Ethics Blog, which also gets picked up by Canadian Business. In clear-cut fashion, he explains some key concepts in business ethics using examples that resonate with the current public conscience. Hurricane Sandy had a startling effect on all of us, leading me to pay close attention to his assessment of what businesses can actually do in response to global warming. He is a strong voice for corporate social responsibility, which also grounds much of the writing of KIE Nonresident Senior Fellow Christine Bader. A contributor to the Huffington Post blog, among other things, her most recent endeavor has been the apparently difficult task of finding practitioners of corporate social responsibility in the baby market. Their topics are both accessible and informative in a way that has given me access to information that would otherwise probably intimidate me.
Meanwhile two of our Senior Fellows, Luke Bretherton and Ebrahim Moosa, each keep a blog that bridges religion and public life. The very name of Moosa’s blog, Dihliz, illustrates that bridge. He explains that dihliz is the Arabic word that “describes the space between the house proper and the street,” and that “this in-between space also describes [his] own existential position between several antimonies.” I think to name that space where the tough exploration takes place is helpful. It is a deliberate venue for idea sharing and ethical exploration of issues that sometimes may seem at odds. I think that goes for any of these blogs, and I appreciate the synthesis. Bretherton and Moosa are spearheading a new initiative on religion in the public sphere, a collaboration between Kenan, the Divinity School, and Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. Bretherton describes the spring graduate seminar that will be the focal point of the initiative in one of his posts on Christianity and Contemporary Politics. I’m sure it will also be an exploration of the space in-between and I hope that some of the dialogue makes its way to their blogs.
The list could go on, of course. Kieran Healy is particularly creative with his sociological commentary, and Dan Ariely to me is one of the most entertaining sources of both knowledge and informed distraction on the internet. Yesterday I stumbled upon Ariely’s post about the Department of Defense’s Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure—for any students still toiling through exam week, beware of this 162 page time suck of humor!
Being at a university, surrounded by expert voices and opinions, is a humbling yet stimulating experience. It may seem overwhelming to try to take in the constant stream of information sharing. It is, in fact, impossible. I guess casual perusal is a ubiquitous habit on the internet, but with no direction I often just feel lost. I’ve found university aggregates like our faculty blogs and DukeToday to be new targeted sources of knowledge that I can rely on and process more easily. So as we head into the holiday break, enjoy browsing!