News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: April 1, 2003 (03-28)
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College’s “Community Conversations Town Meeting”
To Focus on the Language of Ethnic and International Conflict

5th Annual Event Set for Tuesday, April 22 at Takoma Park Campus 

How do words, symbols, and rhetoric used by politicians and the press shape our perceptions of a conflict? This question and more will be addressed at Montgomery Colleges’ 5th annual “Community Conversations Town Meeting,” entitled: “Creating the Enemy: The Language of Ethnic and International Conflict.” The forum will be held on Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30 p.m. at the Takoma Park Campus, Commons Building cafeteria (lower level). It will explore the effects of language on citizens in times of conflict.

Keynote speaker Paul Waldman, associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, teaches and conducts research on the interplay of media and politics, focusing on political advertising, press coverage of electoral campaigns, campaign rhetoric, and citizen deliberation.

Waldman’s work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including Presidential Studies Quarterly, Political Communication, and Media, Culture & Society. His latest book is The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories that Shape the Political World (Oxford University Press, 2002), co-authored with Kathleen Hall Jamieson. He also serves as public opinion analyst for the NPR program Justice Talking.

Serving as moderator and closing speaker for the event will be Sarah Cobb, director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Dr. Cobb writes and teaches widely on language’s role in situations of violence, mediation, and transition. Her presentations and publications include “Rethinking Human Rights Discourse,” “Piercing Communication Barriers in Mediation,” and “From Terrorism to Solidarity: A Transformation of an Oppressive Discourse in Rural Colombia.” 

The annual Community Conversations Town Meeting at Montgomery College involves students and other members of the college community, and is open to the general public. This interdisciplinary event draws on multiple fields, including sociology, history, women’s studies, speech, and English. The overarching theme, The Language of Power, will shape curriculum for several years.

Town Meeting keynote speakers are nationally known experts whose works are read by students and faculty. Past speakers have included ethicist LeRoy Walters, director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics; sociologist Troy Duster, Berkeley professor and author of Backdoor to Eugenics; historian Paul Lombardo of the University of Virginia; and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

For more information, please contact Professor Marcia Bronstein, coordinator of Community Conversations and the Town Meeting, via email at or by phone at 240-567-1369.

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