There may be other reasons for all the terror in the world than the ones most people think.
Floyd Merrell, a professor of Spanish culture and literature at Purdue University, will explain his theory of Global Unwitting Terrorism at a special presentation. “Terror & Cultural Collision” will begin at noon Thursday in the Alcorn Auditorium of the University of Houston-Victoria University West building, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The event, organized by the Society for Critical Exchange, is free to the public, and light refreshments will be served.
In addition to teaching and writing about Latin America, Merrell is an accomplished semiotician, someone who studies signs and why and how they communicate meaning. He has published 24 books and numerous articles about the subject. He first proposed his GUT theory in an essay written shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Merrell’s notion of Global Unwitting Terrorism essentially says that economic and political practices help create conditions that lead to a low level of continuous terror around the world,” said Uppinder Mehan, associate director of the SCE, a scholarly organization based at UHV that is dedicated to theory.
Merrell has studied what happens when cultures come into contact with each other, Mehan said. Sometimes the cultures blend in a positive fashion, but other times, members of one culture feel threatened by and begin to fight off what they view as the introduction of foreign elements.
“A culture that sees itself, consciously or not, as being completely dominated by another militarily, economically, politically or socially may have elements in it that respond with desperate acts of terrorism,” Mehan said.
Merrell’s presentation will offer the audience a unique viewpoint and a new way of thinking about international terror and cultural contact, Mehan said.
The event is a preview of the SCE’s Winter Theory Institute: “terror.edu – Terrorism and Education in America,” scheduled for Feb. 11 to 14 at UHV. The event is a collaboration between the organization and the UHV School of Arts & Sciences.
For more information about the presentation, contact Mehan at 361-570-4178. For additional information about the SCE, visit www.societyforcriticalexchange.org.