Professor Publishes Second Volume of Authoritative Biography

Ray-Bradbury-UnboundFully established in the slick magazines, award-winning, and on the brink of placing Fahrenheit 451 in the American canon, Ray Bradbury entered the autumn of 1953 as a literary figure transcending fantasy and science fiction. In Ray Bradbury Unbound, Jonathan R. Eller continues the story begun in his acclaimed Becoming Ray Bradbury, following the beloved writer’s evolution from a short story master to a multi-media creative force and outspoken visionary.

Drawn into screenwriting by the chance to adapt Moby Dick for film, Bradbury soon established himself in Hollywood’s vast and overlapping film and television empires. The work swallowed up creative energy once devoted to literary pursuits and often left Bradbury frustrated with studio executives.

Yet his successes endowed him with the gravitas to emerge as a much sought after cultural commentator. His passionate advocacy in Life and other media outlets validated the U.S. space program’s mission — a favor repaid when NASA’s astronauts gathered to meet Bradbury during his 1967 visit to Houston. Over time, his public addresses and interviews allowed him to assume the role of a dreamer of futures voicing opinions on technology, the moon landing, and humanity’s ultimate destiny.

Eller draws on many years of interviews with Bradbury as well as an unprecedented access to personal papers and private collections to portray the origins and outcomes of Bradbury’s countless creative endeavors. The result is the definitive story of how a great American author helped shape his times.

“A thorough documentation of Bradbury’s career. . . . This warm, informative biography depicts him as a thoughtful and disciplined writer who helped make science fiction a respected literary genre.”–Kirkus

“Eller captures the joy of creations that new forms allowed Bradbury, such as the intensely visual interpretation of Moby Dick that he wrote for director John Huston. . . . Fans who know Bradbury only for his fiction are likely to enjoy this diverse look at his work and creative process.”–Publishers Weekly

“Intimate, conscientious, and triumphant, a truly profound examination of Bradbury’s accomplishments and legacy. Highly recommended for all sf lovers and those with an appreciation for non-fiction and literature.”–Library Journal

“Engaging. . . . Eller’s second volume of Bradbury’s biography is ultimately a melancholy and cautionary tale.”–Washington Post

“Few contemporary authors have been written about as extensively as Ray Bradbury, but no one has surpassed Jonathan Eller. In his previous study, Becoming Ray Bradbury, he captured the odd nature of Bradbury’s imagination perfectly in the context of his life and age — keeping a myriad of influences and ambitions in perspective. With the publication of Ray Bradbury Unbound, Eller not only confirms his position as the great comprehensive Bradbury scholar. He has also written what may be the best single account of a major science fiction author’s rise to fame and achievement.”–Dana Gioia, author of Pity the Beautiful and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Jonathan R. Eller is a Chancellor’s Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, the senior textual editor of the Institute for American Thought, and director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI. Becoming Ray Bradbury was a runner-up for the 2011 Locus Award for best nonfiction book in the science fiction and fantasy field.

Talking About Freedoms without Freaking Out

An IUPUI discussion series powered by Spirit & Place, a legacy project of The Polis iupuiCenter, part of IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, with support from the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, Indiana Humanities, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and The Center for Civic Literacy.

Where do individual rights begin and end? Which religious liberties are protected by the Constitution? Who decides what is “right” when our ideals about religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom from discrimination clash? How do we get past media sound bites and sensational opinions to really talk about our freedoms without freaking out? Explore which freedoms the First Amendment does – and does not – protect in our summer discussion series.

June 19, 12-1 p.m.
Hate Speech and the First Amendment: Values in Conflict
Scottish Rite Cathedral – FREE
At what point, if at all, should so-called “hate speech” become illegal? During the monthly luncheon of the League of Women Voters ‎of Indianapolis, hear attorney and civic leader Don Knebel discuss hate speech and the First Amendment.

June 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (reception to follow)
Can We Talk about RFRA without Talking Past One Another?
IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law Wynne Courtroom – FREE (register at mckinney.iu.edu)
It’s fair to say that the controversy over RFRA raised more heat than light. This panel aims to model thoughtful conversation on the constitutional and philosophical questions raised by the RFRA debate. Hear from executive director of the ACLU of Indiana Jane Henegar, IU McKinney Professor of Law John Hill, and attorney and IBJ columnist Peter Rusthoven. Moderated by IU McKinney Professor of Law Robert Katz. 1.5 hours of CLE credit available.

July 13, 5-7 p.m.
Trivia Night
Sun King Brewery – FREE
We’re redefining the meaning of “bar exam” with a night of First Amendment trivia and conversation at Sun King. Grab a beer and your thinking cap and join Indiana Humanities and Spirit & Place for quiz night! Open to anyone 21+, there will be prizes for the night’s sharpest legal eagles.

More info at www.spiritandplace.org.

An interactive discussion looks at landscape painting as a mirror of life’s relationships

INDIANAPOLIS — Landscape painting has long provided humans with an artistic form for The Mirror of Landscape Advertcontemplating the relationship between nature, society and culture.

In an interactive discussion this week, New York-based artist Rebecca Allan and Jason M. Kelly, associate professor of history and director of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Arts and Humanities Institute, will engage the audience in a conversation about the role of landscape painting in mediating our relationship with the environment and with each other.

The Mirror of Landscape” discussion takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at the DeBoest Lecture Hall, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Road.

Tickets are free and available online.

The discussion will explore five paintings, created between 1750 and 2015. The event will end in a visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Pont-Aven gallery to examine Paul Gauguin’s “The Flageolet Player on the Cliff.”

This event is presented by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Rivers of the Anthropocene project.

Herron student creates Scout the raccoon as mascot for School of Medicine safety program

INDIANAPOLIS — The pediatrics unit at Indiana University School of Medicine has a new safety “hero.”475795_w296

Dressed in red high-top tennis shoes, and a red shirt emblazoned with a golden capital “S,” Safety Scout – a blue raccoon – is the newly commissioned mascot for the Division of Safety Education and Outreach, part of the IU School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The adorable raccoon beat out cats, dogs, squirrels, rabbits and even a skunk vying for the role of safety mascot.

Scout is the creation of Herron School of Art and Design junior Trisha Mason, one of 10 illustration and drawing students who presented preliminary concepts for potential mascots at the urging of foundation studies professor Vance Farrow. All 10 had previously tackled some character design as students in Herron associate professor Kathleen O’Connell’s Illustration II course.

Safety Education and Outreach Director Susan Stanley said her division has wanted a mascot for a number of years. She turned to Herron, also part of the IUPUI campus, for help after designs submitted from professional illustrators didn’t capture the essence needed.

The mascot character needed to be gender neutral, expressive, cute and cuddly. It needed a wardrobe, too, including de rigueur items like a bike helmet and life jacket. It also needed to appeal to parents, but especially to children in a broad age range — because accidents are the leading cause of death in children ages one to 14.

Mason’s choice of a raccoon as a mascot sprang from personal experience. “We had a little raccoon family living under our porch in Mooresville,” Mason said.

As for Scout’s blue fur and red clothing, “I was drawing from different superheroes,” Mason said. “I got the color scheme from Superman.”

Developing the mascot is Mason’s first paid art job. Images of Scout will appear on the safety brochures, flyers and other resources the division distributes by mass mailings and during community events throughout Indiana with the focus on preventing accidental injuries to children and seniors.

The safety education and outreach unit annually distributes 30,000 pieces of literature on various topics, including bike, outdoor, water and fire safety. Scout will appear on Riley Red Wagon series material which is available in English and Spanish.

Users can also download copies of safety literature from the IU School of Medicine Safety Store website .

Scout is scheduled to make his first appearance on safety literature in early 2016, and could later make the transition to a costumed character.

IUPUI library collaborates to create digital collection honoring Allison Transmission’s centennial

INDIANAPOLIS — As part of ongoing efforts to preserve and share the history of Allison thTransmission in honor of the manufacturer’s centennial in 2015, Allison and University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have collaborated in the creation of a new digital collection.

The project, executed by the University Library Center for Digital Scholarship, enables unprecedented access to Allison Transmission’s heritage in a searchable database. The online collection includes newsletters, brochures, advertisements, press releases and selected photographs.

Following current preservation standards for scanning and metadata creation, the Center for Digital Scholarship has created the most comprehensive digital collection of Allison materials available to the public. The project, which began in December 2013 with a pilot collection of 137 digital objects, now includes more than 2,600 items. The selections are from a larger archival collection held by Allison.

Creating digital files allows rare and fragile original items to be preserved and protected. Preservation of the digitized copies is also secure in that high-resolution master files are backed up on multiple servers and protected by University Library for future generations.

The Center for Digital Scholarship works to provide open access to IUPUI scholarship, research data and the cultural heritage of Indiana communities. The center disseminates unique scholarship, data and artifacts created by IUPUI faculty, students, staff and community partners; advocates for both the rights of authors, and the public’s fair use and open access to information and publications; implements best practices for the creation, description, preservation, sharing and reuse of digital collections; and provides digital scholarship consultations and literacy services.

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leading manufacturer of hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915 by James A. Allison, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis with additional manufacturing facilities in Hungary and India.

About IUPUI University Library

Serving nearly 1 million visitors a year, 10 percent of them community users, the University Library at IUPUI supports students and faculty across all of IUPUI’s more than 200 degree programs with research expertise and a wide array of resources. Resources include signature collections like the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, the Ruth Lilly Special Collections & Archives and the Herron Art Library, plus over 60 digital collections.

Italian Film Festival returns to IUPUI for fourth year

INDIANAPOLIS — The Italian Film Festival returns to Indianapolis for a fourth year April 24 Italian Film Festivalwith a slate of six films running through May 3.

Indianapolis is one of 12 cities around the nation hosting the Italian Film Festival USA. The festival is a collaboration between the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Department of World Languages and Cultures in the School of Liberal Arts and is sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation, Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana, as well as other local corporate and individual sponsors.

All films are presented with English subtitles and are free and open to the public.

The films will be shown in the Lilly Auditorium on the lower level of the IUPUI University Library, 755 W. Michigan St.

The schedule for the festival is as follows:

“La Sedia della Felicità” (“The Chair of Happiness”), comedy, 6 p.m. Friday, April 24: A treasure hidden in a chair; a cosmetologist and a tattoo artist who fall in love while looking for the treasure; a mysterious priest looming over them like a threat. Rivals at first, then allies, the three of them become the protagonists of an incredible adventure.

“Un Ragazzo d’Oro” (“A Golden Boy”), drama, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25: Davide, son of a screenwriter, is an advertising copywriter whose dream is to pen something beautiful. But he suffers from anxiety and lack of satisfaction. When his father suddenly dies, Davide returns home to Rome where he meets a beautiful editor who wants to publish the book that Davide’s father had allegedly been writing.

“Song’e Napule,” (“Song of Napoli”), comedy, 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26: Paco is a refined but unemployed pianist. His mother lands him a job with the police, but his total ineptitude relegates him to a judiciary warehouse. Then one day Police Commissioner Cammarota, who is on the trail of the faceless yet dangerous killer known as O’Fantasma, arrives. He needs a pianist to infiltrate the Lollo Love band, which will perform at the wedding of the daughter of the mafia boss of Somma Vesuviana.

“La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate” (“The Mafia Kills Only in Summer”), comedy, 6 p.m. Friday, May 1: A story told through the eyes of Arturo, who grows up in Palermo, a fascinating yet terrifying city ruled by the mafia. It is, in fact, a love story about Arturo’s attempts to win the heart of his beloved Flora, who he considers a princess and with whom he has fallen head over heels in love since elementary school. As this tender and amusing story unfolds, Sicily’s most tragic events from the ’70s to the ’90s take place.

“Anime Nere” (“Black Souls”), drama, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2: The story of three brothers — the sons of shepherds with ties to the ‘ndrangheta — and their divided souls. Luigi, the youngest, is an international drug dealer. Rocco, Milanese by adoption, is to all appearances a middle-class businessman, thanks to his brother’s ill-gotten gains. Luciano, the eldest, harbors a pathological fantasy of pre-industrial Calabria. After a trivial argument, Luciano’s 20-year-old son Leo carries out an act of intimidation against a bar protected by a rival clan — the spark that lights the fire.

“Il Capitale Umano” (“Human Capital”), drama, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3: A winter night, on a suburban road, a cyclist is hit by a SUV. What exactly happened? The only sure thing is that this accident will change the destiny of two families, that of Giovanni Bernaschi, a top finance executive, and that of Dino Ossola, an ambitious real estate developer who is on the verge of bankruptcy. Liberally based on the book of the same name by Stephen Amidon.

Exhibition: Dontrell: Think and Drink

http://www.sunkingbrewing.com/

On Monday, April 13 from 5:30-8:00 pm, Nathan Alan Davis and cast-members will kick off the 2015 “Think and Drink” series at Sun King Brewery. This event will be subtitled “Think and Drink: Brews, Beats, and Rhymes,” and will feature DJ Kyle Long and Tatjana Rebelle (host of Lingo and Vocab). This event will feature some of the top beat poets and spoken word artists who will perform along with attendees and Sun King employees to create and spit their own rhymes. DJ Kyle Long will be spinning an eclectic fusion of international music throughout the evening. Donations will be taken at the door to benefit the Starfish Initiative.

“The Education of Auma Obama,” a film by Branwen Okpako: screening and discussion with filmmaker

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
University Library, Lily Auditorium
755 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Admission free Reception with light refreshments to follow

Branwen Okpako is a highly talented and successful Nigerian-Welsh documentary filmmaker, who now lives and works in Berlin, Germany, where in 1999 she received a degree in Film Directing from the prestigious German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. Since 1995 she has produced several videos, mixed media installations, and films. Her work has been selected to be shown at film festivals in Europe, Great Britain, Africa, North America, and the Middle East. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Okpako offers seminars, workshops, and projects in film studies and filmmaking and lectures at universities in the US, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world. Topics of her presentations include: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Otherness in Film; Black Identity in German Cinema; Migration and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Europe; The Art of Filmmaking; The Theory and Practice of Screenplay Writing, to name just a few.

For her 2000/2001 film, Dreckfresser (Dirt for Dinner), Okpako received, among others, the German Next-Generation-First-Steps Award for Best Documentary Film. For her 2002 film, Sehe ich was du nicht siehst? (Do I see what you do not see?), she received the D-motion special prize for the city of Halle, Germany. Her most acclaimed film, The Education of Auma Obama, (Die Geschichte der Auma Obama) has brought Okpako much attention. The film is a captivating and intimate portrait of the U.S. president’s older half-sister, who embodies a post-colonial, feminist identity. Dr. Auma Obama studied German at the University of Heidelberg from 1981 to 1987 before continuing with graduate studies at the University of Bayreuth, earning a PhD in 1996. Her dissertation was on the conception of labor in Germany and its literary reflections. For The Education of Auma Obama, Okpako received the 2012 African Movie Academy Award for Best Diaspora Documentary, the Festival Founders Award for Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles (both in 2012), and the Viewers Choice Award at the Africa International Film Festival (2011).

Her most recent project, Fluch der Medea (The Curse of Medea), a docu-drama about the life of the late German writer Christa Wolf, was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014.

Okpako is currently a visiting professor of German at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. This event is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, with additional support from the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the German Program. For additional information contact: Jason M. Kelly, Director, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, iahi@iupui.edu, (317) 274-1689 Claudia Grossmann, Interim Director, IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center,cgrossma@iupui.edu, (317) 274-3943

Conference at IUPUI explores transdisciplinary approach to problems with earth’s river systems

Since the dawn of civilization, access to freshwater, especially in river environments, has helped determine where human populations have flourished on planet Earth.

Over the past two centuries — an age that many geologists are now calling the Anthropocene — humans have reshaped the planet’s biophysical systems, threatening the availability of freshwater and consequentially the stability of ecologies.

This situation has created one of the most important and complex problems that humans will face in the 21st century, according to an international group of researchers convening in Indianapolis this month to launch a seven-year study of how to mitigate the threat of water insecurity.

The researchers will hold the Rivers of the Anthropocene Conference on Jan. 23 and 24 in the Klipsch Theater, on the lower level of the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in downtown Indianapolis.

The conference, which brings together 25 scientists, humanists, social scientists, artists, policy makers and community organizers from five countries, is open to the public and is the kickoff event for The Rivers of the Anthropocene Project, a long-range research effort. Leaders say the project will take a transdisciplinary approach to help us better understand the complex dynamics between humans and their river environments. Faculty from IUPUI are partnering with faculty from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom as project leaders. The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute is organizing the event.

“The majority of the world’s population is threatened by water insecurity and biodiversity loss,” said Jason M. Kelly, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute director and a Rivers of the Anthropocene Project director. “Even here in Indianapolis, we face potential water shortages in the next decades. We can solve these problems, but the solutions are not simply technological; they are cultural, social and political. They require experts from across the disciplines working hand-in-hand with communities and policy makers.”

By mapping the ecological, geographical, cultural, social, political and scientific histories of river systems, the Rivers of the Anthropocene Project will provide insight on issues of relevance to public policy, environmental conservation and heritage management.

For the January 2014 conference, presenters will offer case studies from around the globe, with particular emphasis on the Ohio and Tyne rivers. Topics for discussion and papers presented at the conference include human geography and river environments; the challenge of Anthropocene rivers; rivers on a human scale; earth systems; and the relationship between human systems and river systems.

Speakers include Bill Werkheiser, acting deputy director of the U.S. Geological Survey; and environmental artist Mary Miss.

Support for the conference comes from Keramida Inc., the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana Humanities, IUPUI School of Science, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at IUPUI, the Center for Urban Ecology at Butler University, the IUPUI Center for Urban Health, Newcastle University, the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, IU Office of the Vice President for Research, IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and IUPUI Office of the Chancellor.

Admission is $45. Registrants may purchase lunch. Discounted parking will be available on the ground level of the adjacent Vermont Street Garage.

IUPUI professor works toward reconciliation, cultural understanding overseas

Apr. 16, 2013

by Lynn Schoch, Office of the Vice President for International Affairs

Ian McIntosh is IUPUI’s liaison to universities and organizations around the world that have formal affiliations with the Indianapolis campus. His international interests began 30 years ago with a purely national interest: He wanted to learn more about his country’s Aboriginal peoples. In 1981, he took a position as a liaison and welfare office in Mount Isa, a rich mining community in Northeast Australia.

Mineside, townside

Abundant mineral resources made Mount Isa a pocket of wealth in Queensland, but McIntosh found hundreds of people living in poverty along a dry river bed that divides the city between “mineside” and “townside.”

In one section, they lived in huts without electricity or water, all sharing a single water tap. All of the residents were indigenous Australians.

Some had been dispossessed of their land by the mining operations.

Some had run away from a harsh Christian Brethren mission, or were part of the “Stolen Generation” of Aboriginal children whom the government deemed better off taken away from their families.

Some had been starved off their land in the neighboring state by the barbed-wire enclosure of water sources by large American ranch owners who did not want them around.

All of these “Long Grass People” needed help from the state welfare system that McIntosh, as a welfare office, represented.

McIntosh quickly learned that from the state government’s point of view, his mission had no social justice dimension. It was apparently not to improve the conditions of those in his charge, but to provide a public image of concern. Little money was forthcoming for improved living conditions, education or jobs; about all that was funded was his own job.

He was frustrated on the one hand that he could offer only a listening post or a hand in friendship to those in need of practical help, and on the other by their reasonable assertion that the money he was making really belonged to them.

Wards of the state

The urge for reconciliation between the Aborigines and the non-Aboriginal peoples was not strong in the Australia of 1981. Only 14 years before had the Australian government acknowledged them as persons to be counted as Australians. Previously, they had been considered as “wards of the state.”

Although government and industry knew they wanted to develop the resources under the regions where Aborigines lived, the political and economic forces were not hampered in their efforts by pangs of conscience, or a need for reparations, apologies or participation.

Things have improved by fits and starts since then.

In 1989, conscious that the interests of some Aborigines and non-Aborigines were beginning to merge, the government established the National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia and a Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. It included explicit commitment to the acknowledgement of cultural identity, to social justice, and to economic efficiency and amelioration. But legislators quickly backed off many of these provisions or supported specious implementation.

“In 1993, Native Title legislation mandated that private companies that wanted access to Aboriginal land for mining and the like had to negotiate with the Aborigines who lived there or had historical or cultural ties,” McIntosh explained. “Aboriginal power ended there, however. If the negotiations did not go well, companies could proceed. Only in one area of Australia, the Northern Territory, did the Aborigines have actual veto power over private development of resources.”

National Sorry Day

The first decade of the new millennium saw increasing participation in National Sorry Day, a day committed to recognizing what had been done to Australia’s original populations and what needed to be done in reparation. In 2008, a new government issued a formal apology for the disruption caused to the Stolen Generation forced from their families. In 2013, Australian citizens will vote on a referendum to recognize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.

His early experiences in Queensland led McIntosh’s research in two different, but related, directions. He met individuals who were willing to share some of the beliefs and traditions of one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth. One in particular was the late David Burrumarra, whose own education was steeped in the Dreaming, the sacred code underlying the Aborigines’ cultural, legal and social behavior. McIntosh has written about this code and the history of its unfolding to Westerners. His biography of Burrumarra, “The Whale and the Cross,” is read by schoolchildren across northern Australia.

The other direction of McIntosh’s research grew out of the bureaucratic frustration of working in a world that was not ready or willing to confront its history.

Reconciliation studies

“The problems in Australia are hardly unique; everywhere in the world you can find groups in various stages of conflict and reconciliation with one another,” McIntosh said. “Reconciliation Studies is just now beginning to take hold in universities around the world. It is based on the recognition that while details might be different, the problems to be resolved and methods of resolution have much in common. Those working in this field try to apply the lessons of successes in one part of the world to similar conflicts in other areas.”

For the past 20 years, McIntosh has been committed to the academic and practical applications and the teaching of Reconciliation Studies.

“We use the word in two ways: as a goal and as a process. I can’t point to any place in the world that has fully accomplished the goal of reconciliation, but there are many, many places where we can find successes in the process, case studies in atonement that can take your breath away.”

Although it is simplistic to think that the transfer of a successful strategy in one area in the world to a conflict in another will always provide positive results, there are common elements. “Groups who have been in conflict for a long time cannot begin to reconcile their differences until they have mutually acknowledged the truth,” McIntosh said.

As described in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, truth comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be the history of the conflict between the two groups in a rendition that both sides would agree upon. With events like the Bridge Walk across Sydney Harbor Bridge in 2000, when 250,000 people marched to acknowledge the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal people, Australia has begun to acknowledge its common negotiated historical truth.

Another element essential to the reconciliation process is the recognition of mutual interest. This has been a sticking point in Australia for decades.

“The non-Aborigines see reconciliation in terms of economic parity; Aborigines should have the same responsibilities, rights, opportunities and benefits as other Australians. The Aborigines see the essence of reconciliation in the national recognition of their identity and culture, and also their land rights. From this perspective, formal apologies, explicit recognition in the constitution and a treaty or treaties are essential.”

“Reconciliation is hard. It’s messy. Peace is offensive,” said David Porter, director of Reconciliation for the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Becoming friends feels awful. Looks awful. But is the right thing to do. Reconciliation is a bastard — because it grabs you by the throat and says, ‘You need to live with this person who spent the last 40 years trying to kill your people.’ And that is the hardest thing on God’s earth to do.”

McIntosh is tracking the reconciliation process in more than 100 countries. His major projects have been in Mali, Kenya, Armenia and Australia and with the Rwandan diaspora. He has organized or participated in reconciliation events related to Zimbabwe, Guinea, South Africa, Native Americans in Canada and the U.S., Guatemala, Tibet and Israel/Palestine, to name a few.

Global Crossroads

He regularly teaches courses at IUPUI on truth and reconciliation. In spring 2012, he offered a class focusing on the Gaza Strip. The class enrolled students at IUPUI and at a private university in Gaza.

Students “met” in IUPUI’s Global Crossroads videoconferencing classroom.

“We advertised the course as a virtual study abroad program,” McIntosh said. Early on, students were asked to prepare six-minute videos introducing themselves, their families and their communities. Afterwards, students were paired. They learned about life in the Gaza Strip from being part of these virtual host families and from panels of Palestinian and Israeli speakers. Despite the 6,000 miles separating them, students were intimately in touch with the lives of their counterparts in the Gaza Strip, just as if they were taking part in an actual study abroad opportunity.

It is difficult to deny the value of reconciliation. When it works, there is less violence and fewer deaths. The study of reconciliation can have equally positive results, as reported by a student in the virtual study abroad class: “The interaction with our Gaza partners was most beneficial because I was able to gain an inside perspective of the situation, which is invaluable for learning how things really are on the ground. I was interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict prior to this class. However, now it has become a passion of mine, and I hope to pursue a career in peace, conflict and reconciliation studies, so that I may have an impact in the future.”