Afrotopias and Christianity’s Broken Bargain

Imagine what the University of Virginia would be like if the Jefferson Council wasn’t getting speakers like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to speak on the grounds. Here follows a list of offerings found on the UVA Today calendar of events for the current week. It’s very woke, though not uniformly so. The East Asia Center, founded in 1975 and not recognizably afflicted by progressivism, is putting on two lectures this week. And Jonathan Rauch, a pioneering advocate of gay marriage, describes himself as an admirer of James Madison and Edmund Burke and as a skeptic of utopian ideologies. I dare not predict the tenor of his remarks about Christianity’s broken promise. — JAB

New Frontiers in Black Placemaking
Panel discussion followed by a reception.
September 25

The notion of the Western frontier prompts recognition of the genocide and forced removal policies informed by notions of Manifest Destiny that dismembered Indigenous and Native communities. Native and Black landscapes of the West have historically lost population, been destroyed by development, and industry has extracted water and oil. Post-Emancipation, Black Western place makers sought a promised land in places like Nicodemus, Kansas, Blackdom, New Mexico, and Allensworth, California. During this event, descendant activists, planners, preservationists, and scholars from these towns will share their experiences preserving and planning in these emancipatory landscapes or Western Afrotopias.

This symposium is a generative, re-memory project in which attendees share counter-narratives of Black Western placemaking, contemporary grassroots preservation efforts, and current movements to right the wrongs that led to the decline of Western Afrotopias.

Presented by the University of Virginia’s Descendants of Enslaved Communities, the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Center for Cultural Landscapes; with generous support from the Sara Shallenberger Brown Endowment.

Three Women from Wirrimanu
September 27

This exhibition explores the remarkable and innovative painting practices of three Aboriginal artists who grew up living traditional lives in the outback and became widely successful in the 1990s.

Mental Wellness Screening Day
September 27

Join the Peer Health Educators (PHE’s) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for Mental Wellness Screening Day! We will be screening for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders and substance abuse. Prioritize your mental health while enjoying free pizza, raffles, giveaways, therapy dogs and more.

Cross Purposes: Christianity’s Broken Bargain with Democracy
September 27-29

Jonathan Rauch, writer at The Atlantic and fellow at the Brookings Institution, will deliver a lecture series titled, “Cross Purposes: Christianity’s Broken Bargain with Democracy.” …

The lectures sponsored by UVa’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

North Korean Advertising in the 1950s-1960s
September 28

The East Asia Center will begin our 2023 fall speaker series by hosting Elli Kim, Korean reference librarian at the Library of Congress, for her talk “North Korean Advertising in the 1950s-1960s: Bargaining Socialist Social Contract between State and Citizens.”

“Decoding the Wedding Song Tradition in Ancient Greece”
Classics Annual Constantine Lecture
Professor Andromache Karanika, University of California, Irvine

Youth Critical Race Consciousness for Youth, Communities & Societies
September 29

Dr. Josefina Bañales (she/ella) will be giving a Youth-Nex talk on “The Importance of Youth Critical Racial Consciousness for Youth, Communities, & Societies.” In this talk, Dr. Bañales will discuss the nature of white supremacy and how it remains a pressing social issue. She will highlight how youths’ development of a critical racial consciousness is one antidote to challenging white supremacy, and how youth participatory action research may be used to facilitate youths’ critical racial consciousness.

Hosted by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Recentering Pacific Asia: Regional China and World Order
September 29

The East Asia Center will be hosting Brantly Womack, UVA Professor Emeritus of Foreign Affairs, to talk about his newest book Recentering Pacific Asia: Regional China and World Order, released this August by Cambridge University Press.

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6 months ago

You could be doing so much good for the university. I used to be thankful of your existence, but this shotgun approach has got to stop. It is going to make it impossible for those of us trying to keep the university a place where disagreement and reason can reign.

Going after Rauch? Disagree with his politics sure, but that man is the genuine article. He is someone you should want here:

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago

It is going to make it impossible for those of us trying to keep the university a place where disagreement and reason can reign.”

How so? How does pointing out all of these events make it impossible? How do you propose to make UVA a place where disagreement and reason can reign? How come a voice like Mike Pompeo or upcoming Abigail Shrier has to be funded by a bunch of alumni who are criticized as racists and white supremacists for wanting free speech? At Thomas Jefferson’s University!

If you are a concerned UVA employee, what is your opinion of the free speech atmosphere? How long have you been an employee? Have you observed worsening of the free speech atmosphere?

There was no attack on Jonathan Rauch. His event was pointed out. Jim did not mention him working with those great voices of moderation – The Atlantic and The Brookings Institution. He did mention the series of lectures, which, based on the title, I would guess will be somewhat critical of orthodox Christianity. Here are the titles of the 3 lectures – “Thin Christianity: Secular Democracy’s Religious Crisis;” “Sharp Christianity: White Evangelicals and the Church of Fear;” and “Thick Christianity: Mormons, Madison and the Path to Christian Pluralism.” You can see lecture #3 tomorrow at 5 pm in the Commonwealth Room at Newcomb Hall. Maybe I can drive up tomorrow for a two-fer of moderation and go to “The Importance of Youth Critical Racial Consciousness for Youth, Communities & Societies” at 11 a.m. Bavaro Hall, Room 116.

UVA needs to get back to education and drop all of the indoctrination BS. The costs are going crazy with hotels and programs and ridiculous majors, while the quality of the education decreases.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago

So, I listened to the YouTube. I agree on the free speech and the exchange of ideas.
So how come only one side of ideas gets presented?
How come TJC – which has to scrape together money with no support from the UVA Admin – has to fund “diverse” (not Leftist orthodox views) speech at UVA? UVA has something like $14 billion in affiliated foundations and can’t pay for fairly moderate voices to the right?

But seriously about you – what are your concerns? Why are you a “concerned” UVA employee? Are you concerned about the evil people like TJC and Bert Ellis? Or are you concerned about what is going on at UVA? I suspect the former, but I’d like to know. (see, this is how free speech is supposed to work)

5 months ago
Reply to  walter smith

Do I think Republicans are right about the wasted money at universities? Yes, but they look in the wrong places. Do I think that there is a lot of fear to express views in classrooms in front of classmates? Yes, but I think there are plenty of my Democrat colleagues who try to make classrooms a place where that is not the case (see: Mark Edmundson). Do I agree with you that it is a damn shame that there are not more diverse speakers and conversations open to the public that are *sponsored by UVA*? Yes, but I also think we have to make sure not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Rauch was an example highlighted in the post above as part of the problem, but I am fairly certain he was invited because he is casting light on the rot of the left with regard to ideas around faith and religion – and he is from the Left!! He was an excellent bridging speaker and you would be surprised to know that he, as a gay atheist of the Left, explicitly stated that the country would do better to take religion seriously, that it would be better with more people of faith rather than less, and that part of the rot of the Left is a refusal to see this.

I’m absolutely concerned with the moral rot of UVA. I don’t think Bert Ellis or TJC are evil, but I do think that rather than them being a group around which we can rally (and we deeply need it), they are a group that takes a shotgun approach to the issues.

Here is my mea cupla. I am sorry for reading to fast. This was written better than other pieces. I attributed to you (the author) something that you did not say. However, related to other pieces, it is not unreasonable to ready the your comment, ‘I dare not predict the tenor of his remarks about Christianity’s broken promise,’ in a tone other than jest – preciously because he otherwise wields a shotgun.

Remember that as disappointing as it must be to be an alum of the university or otherwise observe this rot from the outside, it is exhausting to do so as an employee. Everything is a fight, all the time. Not a week goes by where I do not ask why do I still work here? I do because I care and foolishly think I can be part of the change. I want TJC to be effective, but I see it as doing what the Democratic Socialists of America are doing, wanting to blow everything up. Even though TJC is on ‘my side,’ I cannot get behind the ‘let’s just blow it up mindset.’

6 months ago

This is a predictable response from a member of what has become an intellectually incestuous groupthink monoculture at UVA, one of the principal symptoms being a complete lack of self awareness. Exhibit A the statement as to “trying to keep the university a place where disagreement and reason can reign” while attacking a TJC article exemplifying disagreement and reason. When you have a woke cult in which no viewpoint diversity is allowed you then have this bizarre example of thinking. I have witnessed this repeatedly while attending UVA seminars composed of panels in which all are selected to sing the same narrative.
Conformity is the not so subtle mantra as recently demonstrated in the BOV meeting featuring a lecture by a guy named Rose whose not so subtle message was to conform and go along to get along. Utterly antithetical to exercising disagreement and viewpoint diversity as a proven path to reason.
It is high time for the BOV to so act to remove this culture of conformity at UVA which is in fact inflicting psychological harm on the students as evidenced by heightened anxiety. If you doubt me please reference the recent talk by Professor Mark Edmundson at the Jefferson Scholars Auditorium which was sponsored by the Heterodox Academy.

6 months ago

Wow, does not appear to be much intellectual diversity among those lectures.

Yes, thank God The Jefferson Council has brought Mike Pompeo, Glenn Loury, George Will, Douglas Murray, Mike Pence, Mia Love, and Rich Lowry to the Grounds as intellectual counterbalances to these speakers.

Now students, faculty, professors and administrators can listen to ALL viewpoints, as they should.