Carnegie Mellon Press Release: October 10, 2003
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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
October 10, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Panel Will Examine Orthodox Beliefs
Scholars will discuss topics including Islamic law, Christian fundamentalism

PITTSBURGH—The Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University will host "Orthodoxies in Culture," a panel discussion about the role of orthodox beliefs in culture. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 15, in Porter Hall 100 on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

The four panelists will focus their discussion on the perceptions of orthodox beliefs, from the perspective of outsiders as well as those who hold such beliefs. The panelists are: Snjezana Buzov, lecturer in history at the University of Pittsburgh; James Ault, independent filmmaker and sociologist; Dalia Mogahed, outreach coordinator at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh; and Marshall Alcorn, professor of English at George Washington University. The event is free and open to the public.

Moderating the panel will be Jeanne Pearlman, a senior program officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation. Buzov and Mogahed will discuss Islam, including the history of the religion as well as Islamic law and how the faith is portrayed in the media. Ault, director of the acclaimed 1987 documentary "Born Again: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church," will discuss Christian fundamentalism and the challenges of making a film that fairly represents a controversial position. Alcorn, a scholar of Freudian and other psychoanalytic movements, will talk about the perceptions of psychoanalytic theories in culture.

"Modern culture can be characterized as a social search for meaning that questions traditional belief while failing to substitute a satisfactory teleology in its place," said Tim Haggerty, associate director of the Center for the Arts in Society.

"This panel examines the rise of new explanations and the continuing attraction of time-honored forms of thought and belief, and should be of interest to anyone interested in the rise of fundamentalism in contemporary culture," Haggerty said.

The Center for the Arts in Society is a multidisciplinary research and education center that brings together scholars who are interested in studies of culture and society, and the history and production of the arts. It is a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon.

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