Charity symposium to honor Ener

Maria Brachelli

Joining in collaborative effort, a group of University departments will sponsor a symposium on Thursday, Jan. 29 focusing on “Charity,” a tribute to the scholarship of the late Dr. Mine An Ener. Organized by Lucy McDiarmid of the English Department and Lowell Gustafson of the Political Science Department, all students faculty and University staff are invited to attend the event.

Sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the College of Commerce and Finance, along with the Theology and Religious Studies, Political Science, History, Peace and Justice and English departments, the interdisciplinary symposium will host faculty speakers whose lectures will serve as a tribute to Ener’s work, which focused on charity in the Middle East.

Ener was scheduled to begin her eighth year as a professor before she was arrested on Aug. 4 and charged with second degree murder in the death of her infant daughter.

Ener committed suicide on Aug. 30 while in jail awaiting her trial.

McDiarmid said, “As it happens, many Villanova faculty members are doing work in related fields, and Lowell and I thought it would be valuable to highlight the work of those faculty members and listen to them engaging with one another on the topic.”

From her studies in the Middle East, Ener published a book, “Managing Egypt’s Poor and the Politics of Benevolence, 1800-1952” in September, 2003. 

According to Professor Gaile Pohlhaus, Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department, “Dr. Ener’s principal research interest was the investigation of charity in Egypt.”

Pohlhaus explains the feelings of all the presenters of the symposium, “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this extraordinary colleague.  We are honored to participate in this tribute.”

Rev. Kail C. Eliss, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will open and welcome all to the symposium. Broken into three panels, the first titled “Sacred and Secular” with feature presenters from the theology and religious studies, political science, and history departments. The second panel, “Hot and Cold,” hosts professors of theology, C&F and sociology departments. Finally, “Charity in Action,” the third panel, includes speakers from the humanities, English and history departments.

A videotape of the symposium is being made for Professor Ener’s family.

McDiarmid and Gustafson have organized two other symposiums, one in 2002 about “Culture & Conflict,” and the other in 2003, on “Things.” McDiarmid describes the previous symposiums as “very successful, with large audiences and lively discussions.”

The symposium will take place from 2-5:30 p.m. in the St. Augustine Center, room 300.