Dr. Henson to speak at Nov. 15 Community Conversations

As a part of Maryville College’s Community Conversations series, Dr. Scott Henson will be presenting “Traveling without Baggage: How to Explore the World without Wrecking It.”

Henson is an assistant professor of political science at MC, and his presentation will take place Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the recital hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts.  The presentation promises to be one that will be highly relevant and applicable in the private and professional lives of the MC community of students, faculty and staff.

Henson said that he was approached with the idea of giving this presentation due to his history of extensive world travel and projects with students at home and abroad.

The Community Conversations series for this fall has the theme of “people on the move,” and Henson said that his conversation would focus on “the ethics of being a world traveler.”

In short, Henson posed the question, “If you’re going to go somewhere else other than your home, what responsibilities do you have?”

Henson’s travels have taken him to a plethora of places, including dangerous areas such as Yemen and Afghanistan, but he said his favorite trips are those to the Himalayas. These travels have prepared him to aid students in their journeys around the globe, during their time at MC and beyond.

Henson has drawn inspiration for his own journeys from sources close to home.

“My grandmother lived in a socio-economic situation in which she could never travel, but she always scraped up enough money to subscribe to National Geographic,” Henson said.

As a child, Henson’s bedtime stories consisted of articles from these magazines, and the issues currently sit on the bookshelf in his MC office.  It was this sense of wonder that inspired Henson to become a global citizen and lead students in the same practice.

All of this experience is evident in the classes that Henson teaches, and the same will be true with his presentation on Nov. 15.  One of Henson’s most recent projects was researching cultures in western China, and he will also soon be taking Maryville College students to Russia and potentially South Sudan for research projects within the next year.

Topics to expect from the Community Conversation will be issues such as the struggle between preservation and globalization and the changing face of rural culture in the face of rapid global expansion.

Within the context of research projects and students being on the move en route to becoming ethical global citizens, Henson emphasized the fundamental concern of those learning about rural cultural change.

“In almost every case, students are confronted with the issue of ‘who decides?’” in relation to what gets changed or preserved in a rural culture, Henson said.

Students, faculty and staff alike will find the topics and issues discussed at Henson’s Community Conversation to be both educational and entertaining, as he has past projects to present, including photos and videos.

The MC Community Conversations series for fall 2011 will have an incredibly informative final piece when Henson presents his research and ideas in ethics for “people on the move.”

Individuals attending will find information and inspiration for ethical and moral travel around the world from Henson’s vast knowledge and research of the global community, and that makes this Community Conversation a can’t-miss opportunity.

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