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Convocation Series presents panel on post-9/11 interrogation policies
Friday, October 09, 2009

On  Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m., the department of Political Science and the Political Science Association will present the panel discussion, “Dilemmas of Public Engagement with Detention and Interrogation in Post 9/11 America,” in the Williams Center S104.

Panel participants will be Philosophy Professor Steven Kershnar, Political Science Professor Jonathan Chausovsky, and Political Science senior Timothy Porter. The discussion will be moderated by Professor of Political Science James Hurtgen.

The government has asserted the civilian court system is inadequate for the detention and interrogation of captives that might engage or be connected to terrorist organizations. The government also has asserted the need to gather information on citizen in the service of protecting them, but also keeps its findings secret. This leads to a dilemma for democratic governance. In a democratic society the voters must have information in order to make good decisions. The government's perceived need for secrecy is in direct tension with the democratic value of an informed citizen. This leads to a dilemma for public engagement: how to balance these competing interests, particularly in a polarized moment in political time. Panelists will discuss the history of detention in the political process, the role of an engaged citizenry monitoring this process, and the problem of activism amongst an often disinterested citizenry.

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