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Award-winning author to speak at Asanbe Diversity Symposium

Slated for Tuesday, April 19, at APSU, this year's Asanbe Diversity Symposium will feature Rabbi Steven Greenberg as the keynote speaker.

A senior teaching fellow at the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York City, Greenberg is the author of the book, “Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition.”

On April 11, 2005, in San Francisco, this book will be recognized as the winner of 2004-05 Koret Jewish Book Award in the category of Philosophy.

According to Greenberg, over the centuries, two verses in the Bible have been interpreted to condemn sex between men as an act so abominable it is punishable by death. Orthodox Jews, believing the scripture to be the word of God, traditionally have rejected homosexuality. In 1999, Greenberg challenged this tradition when he became the first Orthodox rabbi to declare his homosexuality openly.

“Wresting with God and Men,” a spiritual autobiography of the author's 10-year struggle to reconcile his faith with his homosexuality, cemented Greenberg's international reputation as a challenging and controversial speaker.

The Asanbe Diversity Symposium will kick off with Greenberg's keynote address at 1 p.m. in Gentry Auditorium, Kimbrough Building, preceded by a reservation-only luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the W. N. Daniel African American Cultural Center (AACC). Copies of his book will be available for purchase and autographs.

At 3:15 p.m. in the AACC, Greenberg will participate in a panel discussion on “Reading and Teaching Sacred Texts.” The day's events will close with a reception at Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill.

For more information about Greenberg and his book, visit his Web site at

The Asanbe Diversity Symposium was established in memory of Dr. Joseph Asanbe, who was the first professor of African and African-American literature at APSU. Born In Nigeria, Asanbe earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. The department of languages and literature organized this annual symposium to honor him and promote diversity.

Dr. Karen Sorenson, associate professor of French, director of international studies and member of the Asanbe Diversity Symposium Committee, said, “Dr. Asanbe, who joined the faculty at APSU in 1987, was a beloved colleague and friend until his death. His wife, Dr. Comfort Asanbe, will be with us for the symposium, as we carry on Joseph's vision of moving Austin Peay toward becoming a more diverse university and a campus that respects and values all people.”

Co-sponsors for the event include the Office of Academic Affairs, Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, College of Arts and Letters, School of Education, Honors Program, International Studies Program, Social Work Program, Women's Studies Program and others.

For more information about the symposium or to make luncheon reservations, contact the department of languages and literature at (931) 221-7891.
—Dennie Burke