This week’s lecturers to discuss modern social issues

This week, three speakers at Carnegie Mellon will discuss modern social issues facing American society. First lieutenant Robert Behrman will draw on personal experience to describe the war in Iraq, while political theorist Benjamin R. Barber will speak on capitalism and the “infantilist ethos” that it creates. Artists Ann Messner and Joyce Kozloff will talk about their documentation of rising American protests against U.S. activity in the Middle East.

This afternoon, Robert Behrman, a first lieutenant in the Army Reserve and Ph.D. student in Engineering and Public Policy, will speak on the current political, social, and military situation in Iraq.

Behrman will examine the factors prolonging the war, and try to explain the conflict in a way that will make it understandable to the average observer. His presentation will draw on personal experience in Iraq, his work with the U.S. military and Department of State, Iraqi political parties, civilians, and non-governmental organizations.

The lecture is in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall, room 136A, at 4:30 p.m. today.

On Wednesday, Benjamin R. Barber, the Gershon and Carol Kekst professor of civil society and distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland, will explore issues of citizenship, children, and consumer capitalism in America and abroad.

Barber, an internationally renowned political theorist, has written 17 books, including the best-seller Jihad vs. McWorld. He is also the director of The CivWorld Citizens Campaign for Democracy, which focuses on international civic leadership and cooperation.

His lecture, titled “The Decline of Capitalism and the Infantilist Ethos,” focuses on how capitalism has nurtured an “infantilist ethos” that reduces adults to impetuous consumers, while simultaneously empowering children as consumerist decision-makers.

The lecture is sponsored by the Humanities Center and will take place on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at McConomy Auditorium, University Center.

On Friday evening, artists Ann Messner and Joyce Kozloff will talk about Disarming Images, a video documenting the rise of American protests against the U.S. military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq. The video is part of the exhibition “Joyce Kozloff: Exterior and Interior Cartographies” in the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery.

Kozloff is a member of Artists Against the War, an anti-war organization, and has worked with numerous artists to compile video footage and still photographs of protest and creative public action from 2001 to 2005. Messner is creative director of Disarming Images and an adjunct professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The duo will talk about Disarming Images at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery.