Spring 2017 Events

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Spring 2017 ECCE Speaker Series Event Schedule

 Students currently enrolled in UNI 301 should refer to the event schedule posted on their course Blackboard site.

13th: The Distance for How Far We’ve Come and Haven’t Is the Only Thing Equal
Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Friday, February 3 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Black History Month Event

Co-Sponsored by Diversity Center

The purpose of this film and panel discussion is to explore what many scholars, theorist and practitioners in the field of Legal Studies and African American Studies are considering as slavery in the form of mass incarceration. Although the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery in 1865, researchers and other intellectuals have found that many for-profit companies and sinful/resentful governmental elites have found a fundamental loophole in the 13th amendment. The criminal justice system has been exploited through a variety of bad legislation measures passed by and supported by many US congress members and US Presidents. As a result, many African Americans and other minorities from impoverished environments found themselves in vulnerable positions, mostly commonly landing them in prison after the passing of this legislation. What solution-based steps can be taken to ensure new legislation can be passed to solve this new slavery paradox?

Kamau Kemayo – Associate Professor & Chair, African-American Studies Dept. at UIS

Teshome Campbell – Exoneree

Larry Golden – Emeritus Professor, Political & Legal Studies and Founding Director of the Illinois Innocence Project at UIS

Tess Dooley – Visiting Instructor of Legal Studies in CPAA at UIS

The Propaganda Game

Film Screening & Discussion

Monday, February 6 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

“The Propaganda Game” is a controversial documentary film about North Korea that explores how propaganda functions both inside and outside the country. Director Álvaro Longoria was allowed to film within the country, although his visit was monitored by a Spanish sympathizer for the North Korean government who himself becomes a subject of the documentary. The film includes interviews as well as archival and contemporary news footage as it attempts to describe the nation’s social and political realities with attention to media manipulation by and against the government of North Korea.

We will screen and discuss the film, confronting basic and important questions about how people around the world acquire political knowledge of places and events they’ve never experienced.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at UIS. He is the founder of Political Art and the Public Sphere (PAPS). The idea behind PAPS is to consider how “political art” raises provocative social and political questions, and to engage in discussion with students, faculty, and members of the general public.

Black Lives Matter – Through the Prism of Fredrick Douglass

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, February 21 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Black History Month Event

Co-Sponsored by Diversity Center and UIS Departments of Legal Studies, African-American Studies, and Public Health

A panel discussion composed of thought leaders in their respective fields at UIS with the purpose of highlighting the Black Lives Matter Movement through the prism of Fredrick Douglass’ “West India Emancipation” speech of 1857. The event, as part of Black History Month, will highlight societal and legal institutional challenges that are faced today by African Americans.  By illustrating their plight, this event hopes to build awareness to the struggles faced by at-risk populations in general, and African Americans specifically.

Dr. Dorine Brand – Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at UIS

Pastor Jerry Doss – Lead pastor of Abundant Faith Christian Center (AFCC) in Springfield and established a voice within the community serving on several boards

Dr. Ty Dooley – Director of the MPA Program at UIS. Holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas

Tess Dooley – Visiting Instructor of Legal Studies in CPAA at UIS

Tiffani Saunders – Instructor of Sociology and African American Studies at UIS

Literary Citizenship: Publishing, Writing, and Editing in 2017

KMA Sullivan & Justin Phillip Reed

Wednesday, March 1 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Shelterbelt Reading Series

Literary publisher, editor, and award winning poet KMA Sullivan and poet Justin Phillip Reed will read from their new books of poetry and discuss literary citizenship and the publishing process in the 21st century. As the founder of YesYes Books, a leading independent press recognized nationally for its commitment to diversity, KMA Sullivan will discuss how she sustains an equitable press and builds a social just literary community. As a writer published by YesYes books, Justin will discuss the editorial relationship from the writer’s standpoint. He will also discuss the creation of The History of Flamboyance, a collection which explores place and the black queer experience, among other topics.

KMA Sullivan is the author of Necessary Fire, winner of the St Lawrence Book Award (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She is the editor-in-chief of Vinyl Poetry and the publisher at YesYes Books. She holds an MFA from Virginia Tech.

Justin Phillip Reed is a South Carolina native and the author of A History of Flamboyance (YesYes Books, 2016). His first full-length book of poetry, Indecency, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2018. His work appears—or soon will—in Best American Essays, Callaloo, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He received his MFA at Washington University in St. Louis.

34,000 Pillows

Diaz Lewis

Thursday, March 2 | 5:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by UIS Visual Arts Gallery and Illinois Arts Council

Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis (Diaz Lewis) will give a lecture on their latest project, 34,000 Pillows, which was developed in response to the Congressional “detention-bed mandate,” a statutory quota that enforces Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain at least 34,000 immigrants every day in over 250 private prisons and county jails across the country. To materialize the human impact of the mandate, Díaz Lewis is creating a pillow to represent every designated bed and each immigrant detained as a result of the mandate. The pillows are comprised of articles of clothing donated by undocumented immigrants, prior detainees, and their allies. In an attempt to symbolically “buy back” the 34,000 beds for one single day, 100% of the funds raised from sales of the pillows* are going towards alternatives to the bed mandate, and organizations whose efforts restore human dignity such as Human Rights Watch and Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants.

Diaz Lewis – the collaborative duo comprised of Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera and Cara Megan Lewis – creates art to prompt social change. After the couple met in 2012, they worked across the divide between Cuba and the US. Now based in Los Angeles, their practice as artists and activists is fueled by deconstructing social processes and the symbols and politics behind them. In the selection of topics such as rhetoric, immigration or property rights, they dissect relevant themes from two distinct and often opposing angles. Recent exhibitions include “Home Land Security” For Site Foundation, San Francisco (2016); “Soul Asylum” Weinberg Newton Gallery, Chicago (2016); “A Dream Deferred” Aspect/Ratio, Chicago (2015); “Cul De Sac” Mission Gallery, Chicago (2015); and “The Other’s Voice” Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Chicago (2014). Diaz Lewis were most recently artists-in-residence at the Chicago Cultural Center at the end of 2016 with the support of the Joyce Foundation.

The U.S. Immigrant Population: Myths vs. Facts


Tuesday, March 7 | 4:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Diversity Center and Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc.

Immigration has become a hotly contested political issue in the United States, and many Americans hold beliefs based on widely-held misconceptions. Our goal of this panel discussion is to dispel the myths associated with immigration and give the audience a clearer understanding of the subject. We will explore the history of immigration to the United States, U.S. immigration policy, and how border protection efforts have failed to deter immigrants from risking their lives for the opportunity to work in this country. We will look at the impact of immigrant workers on the U.S. economy and consumer prices, and associated human rights issues. We will discuss how American culture has been influenced by immigrant populations, and how many iconic symbols like our national anthem and country music are actually cultural hybrids. Finally, we will cover how the impacts of U.S. foreign policy has fueled the exodus of emigrants from nations in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Adriana Crocker – Associate Professor of Political Science at UIS, specializing in Latin American politics with a strong background in international law

Anette Sikka – Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies Department at UIS; past work with UN in various post-conflict countries on migration and security sector reform

Yona Stamatis – Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at UIS, specializing in rebetika music of Greece

Does Leadership Have a Gender?

Samantha Drew Gordon

Wednesday, March 8 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

International Women’s Day Event & UIS Campus Safety Week

Co-Sponsored by Women’s Center

We now find more women rising in leadership roles in traditionally male environments. These women often find themselves struggling to be respected and taken seriously unless they resort to traditional aggressive leadership modalities. Women shouldn’t have to lead like men to be successful.  Samantha Drew Gordon will share her experiences as a leader and identify ways that women can lead without having to invoke positional power and ultimatums in order to be respected.

Samantha Drew Gordon was a most exceptional Student Government Association (SGA) President for both her junior and senior years (AY 06 and AY 07) at University of Illinois Springfield. She majored in Political Science and minored in Economics. Sam started her career working at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence, Sojourner Center in Phoenix. Through her work on domestic violence, she became deeply interested in organizing larger-scale responses to the inequities that women face in our society. In 2008, she began working for the Service Employees International Union in Arizona as an organizer working to bring child care providers a living wage and a union. Over the last nine years at SEIU, Sam has worked on various political campaigns, organizing initiatives, and helped build and implement a national leadership development program for the union. In 2015, Sam moved to California as Statewide Field Director of SEIU Local 1000 – which represents 95,000 California state workers. She currently directs a large team within the Organizing Department; develops plans, strategy, and implementation for statewide organizing and leadership development campaign.

The Failure of the War on Drugs: Finding Humanity in an Unjust System

Neill Franklin

Tuesday, March 21 | 6:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Springfield Dominican Sisters

Major Franklin will discuss why it is more compassionate to advocate for the regulation and control of drugs, and have a law enforcement approach that defends human rights and views drug misusers as persons in need of treatment as opposed to punishment.

Neill Franklin has served as the executive director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), which advocates for the regulation and control of drugs, and a law enforcement approach that defends human rights and views drug misusers as persons in need of treatment as opposed to punishment since 2010. He is a 34-year law enforcement veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department. Early in his career, Neill served as a narcotics agent with the Maryland State police. His steadfast belief in fighting the drug war was changed first by the Mayor of Baltimore who declared that the drug war was not working; it was counter-productive and created excessive violence. Then a short time later, a close friend was killed in Washington, DC while making a drug deal as an undercover agent.

Immigrants and Refugees: A Dilemma for US Leaders and Society

Pamela Constable

Tuesday, April 4 | 7:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Many politicians in the U.S. have stridently argued that immigration should be severely limited, while others have argued that restrictions on immigration should be relaxed. Pamela Constable, deputy editor for the Washington Post, will draw on her deep experience writing about immigration to give us insight into the pros and cons of current immigration policy. She will also delve into international perceptions of our policy.

Pamela Constable is the Washington Post Bureau Chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She has been a newspaper reporter for 40 years and reported as a foreign correspondent from more than 40 countries, from Haiti and Chile to India and Iraq. Before joining the post in 1994 she worked for the Boston Globe, focusing on Latin America. She is the author of two non-fiction books on conflict, society and religion in South Asia and co-author of a book on military rule in Chile.


Specters of Revolt

Richard Gilman-Opalsky

Monday, April 10 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

In his fourth and latest book:, Specters of Revolt (2016), Gilman-Opalsky explores how the most important thinking on the most pressing social, political, and economic issues is expressed in revolt. The problem is, we are accustomed to thinking of social upheaval and revolt as irrational, violent, and incoherent. To the contrary, Gilman-Opalsky develops a theory of revolt that accounts for its diverse critical content. He argues that the world is haunted by revolt, by the possibility of events that interrupt and disrupt the world, that throw its reality and justice into question. This lecture and open discussion based on Gilman-Opalsky’s new book aims to help us understand recent global uprisings, and to resist ideological rejections of global uprisings as senseless violence. Making use of diverse sources in philosophy, and specific examples from the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S., we explore the intellect of insurrection.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Springfield. Dr. Gilman-Opalsky is author of four books: Unbounded Publics (2008), Spectacular Capitalism (2011), Precarious Communism (2014), and Specters of Revolt (2016). He is also co-editor of the forthcoming book, Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century, for Temple University Press.

River Reconnections: A Story of Science & Hope

Michelle Carr

Tuesday, April 18 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Earth Week 2017 Keynote Speaker

Sponsored by the Edmund L. Kowalczyk Fund for Leadership

Illinois State Director of The Nature Conservancy, Michelle Carr, will speak about her efforts to advance critical conservation issues across the state. In particular, Carr emphasizes how leadership strategies work to bridge the perceived gaps between conservation science and economic decision-making in Illinois. She will discuss how our local land and water conservation practices in Central Illinois contribute to global solutions for some of the most pressing environmental problems today. Her inspirational message will enhance our awareness of how students and citizens can get involved in local projects, and will stress the key importance of Illinois conservation and restoration projects as global models for understanding social & environmental resilience in cities, farmlands, artificial waterways, and other built environments.

Michelle Carr is the Illinois State Director of The Nature Conservancy.  She leads strategic efforts to advance critical conservation issues across the state, and works to bridge gaps between conservation and economic decision-making.

Cataloguing Gratitude

Ross Gay

Thursday, April 20 | 1:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

STARS Keynote Address

Co-Sponsored by College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of English & Modern Languages, and Friends of Brookens Library

Poet Ross Gay will read from his most recent collection, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2016 and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2015. His collection has been called a “bright book of life” that explores the importance of “singular compassion for the wounded world [through] musicality, intelligence, and intoxicating joy.” Ross Gay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2016 and is currently a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.  Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

Break The Silence: Beyond Binaries – Identity and Sexuality

Robyn Ochs

Friday, April 21 | 3:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

National Day of Silence Event

Co-Sponsored by Diversity Center, LGBTQ Office, Organization of Latin American Students, and Disability Services

Explore sexuality over the lifespan as we break the silence of fluid sexual identities. This program explores the landscape of sexuality, and how we “map” sexual orientation. No two people are alike. Given that, how do we assign labels to our complicated and unique experiences? In this interactive workshop we will conduct an anonymous survey of those present, and look together at the data. Where do we fall on the sexuality continuum? How do we label? How old were we when we came to our identities and to our sexualities? In this fun and interactive program we explore different experiences of identity; the interplay between gender and sexuality; the complexities of attraction, and more. Participants in the UIS Day of Silence will be encouraged to share their experience during the workshop.

Robyn Ochs is an educator, speaker, award-winning activist, and editor of the Bi Women Quarterly, the 42-country anthology, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and the new anthology RECOGNIZE: The Voices of Bisexual Men. Her writings have been published in numerous bi, women’s studies, multicultural, and LGBT anthologies. Robyn has taught courses on LGBT history & politics in the United States, the politics of sexual orientation, & the experiences of those who transgress the binary categories of gay|straight, masculine|feminine, black|white &/or male | female. An advocate for the rights of people of all orientations and genders to live safely, openly and with full access and opportunity, Robyn’s work focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities, and mobilizing people to be powerful allies to one another within and across identities and social movements.

Anarchist Possibilities

Dennis Fox & Ron Sakolsky

Wednesday, April 26 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Radical Student Union and Political Science Dept.

What possibilities for social change does anarchism offer in the Age of Trump? While anarchy is often misunderstood as a form of dog-eat-dog survivalism, the latter description more accurately applies to the grim wave of fascism currently breaking on U.S. shores. In contrast, those who practice anarchy refuse and resist all forms of domination, imagining instead an anti-authoritarian world of unlimited possibilities.

Former UIS faculty members Dennis Fox and Ron Sakolsky will discuss anarchism as a catalyst for unleashing individual autonomy and mutual aid. In 1995, they were arrested at a public event in Brookens Auditorium for distributing leaflets criticizing the sponsor of the union-busting legislation associated with SSU’s transition to UIS. In response, free speech and academic freedom advocates rallied to their defense and all charges were dropped.

Dennis Fox co-edited Critical Psychology: An Introduction and co-founded the Radical Psychology Network. Reflecting a sense of anarchism as a movement for psycho-political change, his work on psychology’s role in maintaining the status quo examines the intersection of psychology, law, and justice. His most recent essay, “Border Lines and Border Regions,” published in the anarchist magazine Fifth Estate, describes the interplay between crossing global political borders and challenging personal borders built up over a lifetime.

Ron Sakolsky regularly taught the course “Anarchy and Social Change” throughout his 30 years at SSU/UIS. Among his many books are Creating Anarchy (2005) and Breaking Loose: Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid? (2015). Ron was instrumental in arranging for the re-publication of Vachel Lindsay’s long out-of-print utopian visionary novel, The Golden Book of Springfield. His introduction placed Lindsay in the context of Springfield’s radical history. Published widely in anarchist publications (Anarchy, Social Anarchism, Fifth Estate, Green Anarchy and Modern Slavery), Ron edits his own anarcho-surrealist magazine, The Oystercatcher.