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Global Affairs Blog

Culture Series: Introduction

By: Leah Wong, L’18 and Global Affairs Blog Editor

 
Physicist Albert Einstein once stated, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” There may be no precise scientific formula that leads us to global security and peace. But engaging in the pursuit of deeply understanding people, places, and cultures that make up the fabric of this world we all inhabit is a worthwhile one. This year, JD, LLM and SJD students will come together in a series of roundtables to discuss, debate, and explore the idea of culture –  beginning with its definition to how it intertwines with other social constructs and trends such as class, gender, sexuality, populism, and activism. 

Our daily agendas often feel too full to ask, converse, and reflect on something as abstract and complex as culture. But perhaps examining and grappling with culture - and how it is practiced across the world -  can shed some light on how to improve humankind’s collective experience.

The formal comments that precede every discussion will be published on this blog. Please feel free to submit your own written thoughts by emailing leahwong@law.upenn.edu. We welcome your engagement on our explorative journey. 



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  • October 22
    By: Shane Fischman, JD’19 and Global Affairs Blog Editor
    Through the normalization and unanimous acceptance of treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), history has proven that despite our cultural differences, diverging political and economic systems, and unique social norms, the world can agree that certain actions are unquestionably immoral. On the one hand, it, therefore, appears that the world has conceded that there are certain moral absolutes. On the other hand, however, the belief that there are rights and wrongs relative to our own moral convictions abounds.  Saudi Arabia is a case in point.
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  • October 12
    By: Mary Lester L’19
    The #MeToo movement has made significant progress exposing the prevalence of sexual violence in today’s society, while also helping to dispel myths that prevent victims from speaking out against their abusers. The movement has gained more power than ever over the past year, holding once untouchable men, such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Matt Lauer, accountable for their actions. #MeToo has also dismembered myths surrounding sexual assault and harassment, including the idea that such violence is unpreventable because “boys will be boys,” or that a woman is “asking for it” if she dresses or acts a certain way. However, even with such significant progress, the treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh show the steps that still must be taken before the country takes sexual violence seriously.