Richard von Weizsäcker Lecture
Suffering, Compassion, and Responsible Scholarship about the Middle East
The conflict, displacement, and misery that have transpired in the Middle East since 9/11—the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise of ISIS, the Syrian conflict—have posed intellectual and ethical challenges to scholars of the region. Historian Keith David Watenpaugh has responded in two ways: he has turned his scholarship toward the history of human suffering and compassion, in his award-winning book Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (California, 2015), and he has led a multinational, multidisciplinary project that assesses the impact of war on refugee students. In this lecture, Watenpaugh discusses his historical and humanitarian work as well as the professional responsibilities facing scholars confronted by recent events in the Middle East.