The Broken Ladder: A Library Talk About Inequality


File Photo

Broken Ladder Event Poster

The Madlyn L. Hanes Library is hosting events centered around inequality and how it affects people’s lives, outlooks, and habits.

The most recent event on Tuesday, April 5 centered around inequality and substance abuse. A panel of Dr. Weston Kensinger, Dr. Ovgu Kaynak, and Dr. Chris Whipple spoke to the group about Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and Opiod Use Disorder (OUD) and how inequality factors into the stigmas around addiction. The panel also spoke on the efforts to support individuals and communities who are recovering from these and similar disorders. 

The event concluded with a short Q&A session before door prizes were handed out to lucky winners. Boxed lunches were also served at the event.

The event was part of a series of events centered around the Penn State Harrisburg Reads book for this semester, The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne. According to the book’s summary:

“Levels of inequality in the world today are on a scale that have not been seen in our lifetimes, yet the disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder, psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically, but also how it has profound consequences for how we think, how we respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral concepts such as justice and fairness.”

There are two more events in this series happening over the week of April 11. On April 12 from 11:30-12:30, Morrison Gallery will host an event about stress and coping. The event will feature practitioners speaking about “the ways we’ve been coping with the stressors we deal with in our lives, and how inequality can contribute to stress.” Harrisburg faculty, such as Dr. Gina Brelsford and Professor Cathrine Rios, will be speaking at the event.

On April 14 from 11:30-12:30, Library 106 will host the last event of the series, which deals with the role of inequality in domestic violence. The event will feature a look into how financial inequality and other forms of inequality affect those in domestic abuse situations. The event will also highlight resources that are available to help those who are dealing with domestic violence and abuse. Michael Ritter, the Deputy Director of Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County, will be speaking at the event.