Ashland Center for Nonviolence to Host Panel Discussion on 'Can Politics Be Truthful?'

10/13/10 ASHLAND, OH -- The Ashland Center for Nonviolence will host a panel discussion featuring three Ashland University professors discussing "Can Politics Be Truthful?" This event is free and will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ridenour Room of the Dauch College of Business and Economics.

The panel will feature Dr. Craig Hovey (Religious Studies), Dr. Jeff Sikkenga (History & Political Science) and Dr. Zac Gershberg (Communication Studies). Dr. Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will be moderating this panel discussion that will cover a myriad of themes, including the role of media, sound bites and the nature of campaign discourse, rhetoric, propaganda and secrecy.

Hovey teaches courses in Christian theology and ethics and he plans to discuss the responsibility the people bear for driving politicians to tell us less than the truth-how, often, people would rather be lied to and the politicians just want to please the people. Dr. Hovey received his Ph.D. in theology from the University of Cambridge in 2006 where, under the supervision of Dr. Janet Soskice, he wrote a dissertation on knowledge, witness and truth-telling that looks to thinkers like Michel Foucault and Karl Barth to show how Christian witness and the role of testimony might be rescued from some of the bad habits of modern thought.

Sikkenga is interested in the relationship between politics and religion in liberal democracy and America in particular. He plans to raise the question whether democracy makes politics more truthful or less truthful. "We tend to think that the more democratic politics is, the more truthful it is. But there may be reasons to doubt that idea," he says. Sikkenga is an associate professor of political science at Ashland University, adjunct fellow of the John M. Ashbrook Center and senior fellow in the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in political thought, the American Founding and American constitutional law.

Gershberg claims that "A politics of truth is neither possible, nor, for that matter, desirable, since the function of politics is geared to persuade others to support a candidate or a specific piece of legislation.  However, politics, at its finest, can be redeemed by a genuine form of discourse that provides leadership and inspiration." Gershberg teaches courses in rhetoric and speech communication for the Department of Communication Studies. He received his Ph.D. in rhetoric from Louisiana State University, an M.A. from Hawaii Pacific University and a B. S. from Ithaca College.  He previously taught at the University of Montana as well as Keene State College, in New Hampshire, where he taught courses focusing on American political discourse and the rhetoric of religion. During the 2008 presidential election, he served as an on-air analyst reviewing speeches and debates for the NBC affiliate, KECI, in Missoula, Mont.

The Ashland Center for Nonviolence, located on the campus of Ashland University, is committed to exploring and promoting alternatives to violence in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world. For more information about this event, or to learn more about the Ashland Center for Nonviolence, please call 419-289-5313 or visit us online at<>.

Ashland University (<>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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