Stanford Admit Weekend Panel Addresses "The Sacred and the Profane: Modernity Challenged"

Commentators across the political spectrum have suggested that a profoundly confrontational clash between western and traditional cultures is taking place. Are modernity & religiosity in fundamental conflict? Are western values - equated with modernity and secularism - incompatible with orthodoxy? Are traditions - based in religion and emphasizing the importance of established practices - antithetical to "progress"? Is the conflict so profound that it has become our new "cold war"? Join our panelists to explore one of the more disturbing challenges facing our world today.

Coit D. Blacker is director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Olivier Nomellini Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. He also serves as co-chair for Stanford University's International Initiative. Professor Blacker is the author or editor of seven books and monographs, including Hostage to Revolution: Gorbachev and Soviet Security Policy, 1985-91 (1993); Reluctant Warriors: The United States, the Soviet Union and Arms Control (1987); and, with Gloria Duffy, International Arms Control: Issues and Agreements (1984). During the first Clinton administration, Professor Blacker served as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council. Professor Blacker is a graduate of Occidental College (A.B., Political Science) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (M.A., M.A.L.D., Ph.D.).

Amir Eshel is chair and associate professor of German studies and comparative literature, and director of the European Forum at FSI. His research focuses on German culture, comparative literature, and German-Jewish history and culture from the Enlightenment to the present. He is currently working on a book about the poetic figuration of historical narratives, and he is also involved in an interdisciplinary project on urban space in Berlin. At Stanford, he has taught courses on German Jewish literature, literature of the Holocaust, modern German poetry and the contemporary German novel. Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor of German studies, he taught at the Universitaet Hamburg (Germany). He is a member of the American Comparative Literature Association, the Association of Jewish studies, the German Studies Association and the Modern Language Association. In 2002 he received the Award for Distinguished Teaching, from Stanford University's dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences. He received an MA and PhD in German literature, both from the Universitat Hamburg. He speaks Hebrew, German and English, and has a good knowledge of Yiddish and French.

Robert Gregg is the Teresa Hihn Moore Professor in Religious Studies (Emeritus), and serves as Director of the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. His scholarship includes a book on philosophies concerning death and grieving in ancient Greek, Roman, and Christian communities; two volumes concerning struggles over orthodoxy and heresy in 4th century Christianity that are focused on the "arch-heretic" Arius and reactions to his teachings; a translation of Athanasius' Greek Life of Saint Antony - the famous account of his activities as one of the first desert monks; and a study of 250 Greek, Hebrew/Aramaic, and Latin inscriptions from the Golan that allow glimpses of interactions between Jews, "pagans," and Christians in the Golan Heights and Syria, 1st-7th centuries CE. Professor Gregg's current research treats several "sacred stories" which appear both in the Bible and in the Qur'an-and examines interpretations of these scripture narratives by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim writers and graphic artists in each of the religions' early centuries.

Paula M. L. Moya is Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of English at Stanford University, where she recently completed a term as Director of the Undergraduate Program of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), and Chair of the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) major. Her publications include essays on feminist theory, multicultural pedagogy, and Latina/o and Chicana/o literature and identity. She is the author of Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles (University of California Press, 2002) and coeditor of Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism (University of California Press, 2000) and Identity Politics Reconsidered (Palgrave in 2006.) For the past five years, she has been actively involved as a founding organizer and coordinating team member of The Future of Minority Studies research project (FMS), an inter-institutional, interdisciplinary, and multigenerational research project facilitating focused and productive discussions about the democratizing role of minority identity and participation in a multicultural society. For more information, visit

Raena D. Saddler grew up in St. Louis and attended high school at Colorado Academy in Denver. She is currently a Junior double-majoring in Religious Studies (with a focus on Christianity) and Psychology on the "Health and Development" specialization track (focusing both on adolescent development and clinical psychology). She is also minoring in International Relations with a focus on aid to lesser developed countries--Africa in particular. Raena is planning to spend next fall semester in Rome and come back to work on an honors paper for Religious Studies. She enjoys traveling abroad, and spends a few weeks every summer doing aid-work in Mozambique, Africa. Since coming to Stanford, Raena has been volunteering for three years at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC) working with junior high and high school girls as a youth leader and small group leader. In addition to that, she is the head coach for the Menlo-Atherton High School JV women's lacrosse team. Outside of coaching she loves to be around kids and babysits for several families in the area. When she isn't going to class, babysitting, or coaching, she spends the rest of her time with her closest friends and boyfriend of two years.She is very passionate about youth leadership and social justice, and hopes to work for an international aid organization in the future.

Jointly sponsored by the Stanford International Initiative and the Undergraduate Admissions Office.