Marc Howard Ross
William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor
Department of Political Science
Bryn Mawr College
Marc Howard Ross was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University and is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Bryn Mawr College where he has taught since 1968. He has done research in Canada, East Africa, France, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and most recently in Spain, and South Africa. His current work has two major themes (1) the role that cultural performance and memory play in the escalation and deescalation of ethnic conflict and (2) social science theories of conflict and their implications for conflict management He has written or edited eight books including Cultural Contestation in Ethnic Conflict, (Cambridge, 2007), Culture and Belonging in Divided Societies: Contestation and Symbolic Landscapes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) The Culture of Conflict and The Management of Conflict (Yale University Press, 1993), and over 75 articles chapters that have appeared in academic journals and books.
Ross is especially concerned with the role that cultural expressions and enactments such as language, parades, music, flags, clothing, museums, memorials, museums and sacred sites play in the definition and expression of collective memories and identities in diverse societies. In his talk, he will ask how these lead to intense contestation at times while at others these symbolic and ritual expressions are more inclusive and redefine membership in the community, group or nation in ways that reduces conflict and differences. From his perspective collective memories are selective and regularly constructed and reconstructed. To examine this process he will look at the recent public conflict in Philadelphia over the construction and design of a memorial to the enslaved Africans who lived in the President's House from 1790-97, one block away from Independence Hall.