MHC to Host Open Forum on Torture

Posted: March 19, 2008

Mount Holyoke will host an open forum titled "U.S. Military Use of Torture: What Role Should Professional Organizations Play?" Monday, March 31, at 4:30 pm in the New York Room of Mary Woolley Hall.

Sponsored by the Department of Psychology and Education, the forum will feature faculty from Mount Holyoke and other members of the Five College Consortium, along with MHC students from a first-year seminar on psychological controversies, in a discussion of a highly controversial question for social scientists: What role should psychologists, physicians, psychiatrists, and anthropologists play in the U.S. war effort, especially if their participation might violate ethical standards?

"The American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Anthropological Association have been hotly debating whether to ban their members from consulting, observing, or participating in interrogations at military detention centers like Guantánamo Bay that may involve the coercion, abuse, or torture of prisoners," said Gail Hornstein, professor of psychology and organizer of the event. "Does any form of 'constructive engagement' with such interrogations violate the ethical standards that psychologists, anthropologists, and physicians must abide by in their work?"

Hornstein, who will moderate the event, said all views will be welcome in the forum.

"There is a deep commitment at Mount Holyoke to open dialogue about important issues that affect us locally and globally," she said. "This is an event that I think will be of great interest to people. It's also a fantastic opportunity for students to think about ethics beyond a research context and in terms of a broader question--a real life challenge and application."

In addition to Hornstein, forum participants will include psychologists Fran Deutsch and Pat Romney, both from Mount Holyoke College; Fletcher Blanchard, chair of psychology at Smith College; private psychologist Andrea Cousins, Northampton; anthropologists Lynn Morgan, Mount Holyoke, and Alan Goodman, Hampshire College and former president of the American Anthropological Association; and Annamarie Amato, Katie Dahill, Catherine Macaluso, Maria Park, Karin Shim, Mayara Silva, and Rui Zhou, all students in Hornstein's First-Year Seminar on Psychological Controversies at Mount Holyoke.

The forum is free, open to the public, and accessible to all. For more information, call 413-538-2338.

Related Links: