Fall 2017 Events

Speaker Series logo

ECCE Speaker Series Community Event Schedule

All events are free and open to the public. Individuals with disabilities who anticipate the need for accommodations should contact the UIS Speaker Series Office at 217/206-8507 or speakerseries@uis.edu in advance. Students currently enrolled in UNI 301: ECCE Speaker Series should refer to the event schedule posted on their course Blackboard site.

Fall 2017 Community Event Schedule (PDF printable version)

Law Mart

Riaz Tejani

Wednesday, September 13 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the Department of Legal Studies

In Law Mart (2017), Riaz Tejani explores how for-profit law schools expose the limits of market-based solutions to inequalities in legal education and access to justice. Despite the many graduates with law degrees. There are few employment opportunities for lawyers while there is a high demand from the populace, in particular low­income communities, for access to the judicial system. For-profit law schools’ number one mission is for growth to increase their market value. They do this by marketing themselves to be more inclusive by lowering admission standards, restructuring curriculum, and diversifying their make-up; conducted with profit in mind, this sets students up for potential failure. For students promised professional citizenship, is there a need for protections that better uphold institutional quality and sustainability? In Law Mart, Tejani queries the extent to which legal academic attachments to economic theories has influenced law school ethics, governance, and oversight.

Riaz Tejani is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Tejani is a legal anthropologist with research and teaching interests in legal education, comparative law, finance and globalization, and race and ethnic studies. His current research uses ethnographic theory and methods to analyze contemporary changes in U.S. law school governance and organizational culture.

Sylvia Mendez: Pioneer in the School Desegregation Movement

Sylvia Mendez

Monday, September 18 | 4:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Hispanic Heritage Month Event | Constitution Day Event

Co-Sponsored by Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., Organization of Latin American Students, Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, the Diversity Center, and NPR Illinois / 91.9 UIS

Sylvia Méndez, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, will speak about her life as an American civil rights activist. When Ms. Mendez was eight years old, her parents organized with four other Mexican-American families and filed a law suit in federal court against four Orange County school districts. Her family’s case, Mendez v. Westminster, paved the way in 1947 for the famous Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education which led to desegregation of schools across the country eight years later.

Their story demonstrates how a small group of citizens can and have changed the course of history. Their actions led to desegregation across the United States, but the current inequalities in the American education system, referred to as de facto segregation, remind us that we cannot take past successes for granted. We must continue to work for equal access to, and achievement in our schools.

Sylvia Méndez was born in 1936 in Santa Ana, CA to a Puerto Rican mother and a Mexican father. As a young child, she attended a school for Hispanic children. When she was eight-years old, her parents decided Sylvia, her brothers, and their cousins should attend a nearby Whites-only school with better resources. The school said Sylvia’s lighter-skinned cousins could attend, but she and her brothers could not.

Their law suit against four Orange County school districts had long-term repercussions in California and across the nation. Their victory led to desegregation of California schools and ultimately to desegregation throughout the United States after Brown v. Board of Education.

Sylvia made her career as a registered nurse and now devotes her time to traveling and lecturing on the historic contribution she and her parents made to civil rights in the U.S. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Live Through This

Dese’Rae L. Stage

Thursday, September 28 | 5:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Illinois Arts Council, and NPR Illinois / 91.9 UIS

Dese’Rae L. Stage is an artist and activist who challenges preconceived notions about those with lived experience of suicidal thoughts and actions using the combined powers of photography and storytelling. Dese’Rae discusses her own experiences with self-injury and suicide, the development and evolution of “Live Through This,” and her artistic process, all with candor. She implores audiences to open their hearts and minds to those who have literally lived through it, and she provides incontrovertible evidence that suicide affects all of us.

Dese’Rae’s project “Live Through This” is a collection of portraits and true stories of 180 suicide attempt survivors in 33 cities across the United States. Live Through This re-imbues the topic of suicide with humanity by putting faces and names to the statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past.

Dese’Rae L. Stage is a Philadelphia-based artist, suicide awareness activist, and public speaker. She struggled with self-injury for nine years and survived a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. These experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and the lack of resources for attempt survivors, prompted her to create “Live Through This”.

Dese’Rae speaks at universities and conferences nationwide. She provided commentary for The Glenn Beck Program, Fox News, and BBC Radio. Her writing was published by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and XoJane. In January 2017, she received a SXSW Community Service award, the American Association of Suicidology’s Transforming Lived Experience Award, and received Investigation Discovery’s Every Day Hero award. Live Through This has been featured in the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and more. Dese’Rae is featured in a documentary about suicide prevention advocates called “The S Word,” due out later this year.

Women’s Community Art for Social Justice in Mexican American Chicago


Monday, October 2 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Hispanic Heritage Month Event

Co-Sponsored by Department of Sociology Anthropology, Department of Women & Gender Studies, Organization of Latin American Students, and NPR Illinois / 91.9 UIS

What is the role of the visual arts, Latina artists and cultural workers, and public art in social change?  During this event, you will learn about what making art means to women from the working class Latina communities of Chicago, the barriers facing Latinas who wish to create public and personal art, how they balance their artistic practice with family life, and why they formed an art collective.  The panelists will address different types of public art forms including graffiti, murals, and zines, why they make public art and teach art workshops in Mexican immigrant communities, and how community engagement makes their art better.  Finally, you will learn about creating art with a primary goal of social justice and the impact of gentrification on communities of color and artists in Chicago today.

This panel features transdisciplinary artist and School of the Art Institute of Chicago faculty member Nicole Marroquín and members of Chicago’s Mujeres Mutantes (Mutant Women) Art Collective.

Hidden Histories:  American Concentration Camps 

Film Screening and Discussion

Friday, October 6 | 4:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Political Art and the Public Sphere (PAPS)

Hidden Histories is a touring program of short narrative films about Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Each film tells a personal story dramatizing a different period of this history, starting from Executive Order 9066 (which authorized the confinement sites).  The program includes “A Song for Manzanar,” produced and directed, with much local support, by former Springfield resident, Kazuko Golden, based on a story from her mother Yosh Golden who was born in Manzanar concentration camp and is writing a book of creative non-fiction based on her mother’s experiences.  The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, declared that Japanese American incarceration was “motivated largely by racial prejudice, wartime hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Despite this forceful statement, our nation is at risk of repeating these grave mistakes. Hidden Histories provides a much-needed reminder of the profound cost of abandoning our ideals of an inclusive society and equal protection under the law.  Speaker Series will screen and discuss the film.

Kazuko Golden grew up in Springfield, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College in Peace and Global Studies and Sociology/Anthropology, and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Producing from Columbia College in Chicago. While in graduate school, she interned at the Emmy Award winning Kartemquin Films and assisted with the 20th Anniversary premiere of “Hoop Dreams”, and the premiere launch of “Life Itself, a Roger Elbert Documentary” at Sundance.  Her production and directorial debut, “A Song for Manzanar” was accepted into the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival and several festivals nationwide in the U. S.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at UIS. Dr. Gilman-Opalsky 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.

2017 Lincoln Legacy Lecture: Lincoln and Education

Michael Burlingame, Robert Bray, and Paula Shotwell

Thursday, October 12 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, Gobberdiel Endowment, Abraham Lincoln Association, Brookens Library Holtz Memorial Lecture, Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, Illinois State Historical Society, NPR Illinois / 91.9 UIS, and Sangamon County Historical Society

The 2017 Lincoln Legacy Lectures: Lincoln and Education program will feature a brief discussion by UIS Professor Michael Burlingame about what Abraham Lincoln called his “defective” education, followed by two lectures that illustrate Lincoln’s important legacy as one of America’s greatest intellectuals. The first lecture by Illinois Wesleyan Professor Emeritus Robert Bray will discuss what Abraham Lincoln read and analyze his self-education and penchant for life-long learning. The second lecture by veteran Springfield educator Paula Shotwell will discuss the use of Lincoln in the modern classroom to bring history to life for students, to encourage interest in history and reading, and to inspire students to emulate Lincoln’s intellectual curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

Michael Burlingame holds the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS, where he has been a member of the history department since 2009; Robert Bray is Professor Emeritus at Illinois Wesleyan and the author of Reading with Lincoln (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010); and Paula Shotwell is a thirty-year veteran in the Springfield public schools, where she established a living history program, which gives students the opportunity to research and write about history over the course of entire school year and then present their findings in a public history program.

Examining Barriers to Social Change: Challenges of Youth, Young Adults and Adults to Creating, Impacting and Enacting Reform

Tommy Jackson III, Marcus Bright, and Utz McKnight

Wednesday, October 18 | 5:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

This panel evaluates the landscape of reform efforts in arenas proposing, developing and impacting social changes in society. The differences in challenges faced during life circumstances influences the behaviors and responses to needs of age groups. While society evolves in its efforts of equality, tolerance, acceptance and understanding, generations must explore the limitations placed on change. Panelists discuss societal constructs, organizational barriers, generational differences, and additional political factors on education, career-focus, the place of diversity in society, individualism, and more.

Tommy Jackson III is the Director of Advising for University College at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. Dr. Jackson was a defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs and Auburn University. He holds a B.A. in Public Administration, Masters of Education in Adult Education and Ph.D. in Adult Education and Higher Education Administration from Auburn University as well as a M.B.A. and M.P.A. from Kennesaw State University. During much of his career, Dr. Jackson has worked with student-athletes and focuses on education, advising and motivation.

Marcus Bright is the Executive Director of Education for a Better America, adjunct instructor at Lynn University (FL) and commentator for the Huffington Post. Dr. Bright has a B.A. in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa, a M.P.A. from Florida International University and Ph.D. in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. His work is dedicated to promoting the development of education in urban communities. Additionally, he writes and speaks on issues of social justice, public policy and education.

Utz McKnight is a Full Professor of Political Science and Chair of Gender and Race Studies at the University of Alabama. Dr. McKnight has a B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in Political Science from Lund University (Sweden). He authored numerous books on the politics of race and his research focuses on race as a description of communities in the United States. Additionally, he explores political concepts such as sovereignty, the state and politics.

Investigating How Cancer Cells Survive: The Key to Blocking Metastasis

Zachary Schafer

Monday, October 23 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by Hesburgh Lecture – Notre Dame Club of Central IL

Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body, is responsible for in excess of 90% of cancer deaths. This lecture will focus on recent Notre Dame research studying how cancer cells survive during metastasis, and how this information can be used for the development of novel cancer therapeutics.

Zachary Schafer is Professor of Cancer Biology and Coleman Foundation Associate at the University of Notre Dame. He earned his BS in Biological Sciences from Notre Dame and completed his PhD in Molecular Cancer Biology at Duke University. He proceeded to complete postdoctoral studies in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Schafer’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanism utilized by cancer cells to survive during metastasis. He is the recipient of a V Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a Research Scholar Award from the American Cancer Society, and a Career Catalyst Award from Susan G. Komen.


Film Screening & Discussion

Friday, November 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by The NPR Illinois Foreign & Independent Film Series sponsored by the Office of Student Life

The film “Ran” (1985) by Akira Kurosawa offers an exploration into the human condition through a lens of feudal Japan.  In medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the newfound power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other…and him. A facilitated discussion led by Dr. Shapinsky will follow the movie to explore accurate historical understanding and cultural appreciation along with other takeaways from Akira Kurosawa’s classic film.

Peter Shapinsky is an Associate Professor of History at UIS. He is also the author of Lords of the Sea, a book on medieval Japan. Peter Shapinsky was the recipient of the 2016 University Scholar Award at UIS and is understood to be one of the foremost scholars on Medieval Japanese piracy and Japanese maritime history. Peter Shapinsky is also fluent in Japanese to aid in his studies of East Asian history.

Hope Is the Thing with Little Clear Wings

Clay Bolt

Wednesday, November 15 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Sustainability Week Keynote Address

Co-Sponsored by Sustainability Committee, Students Allied for a Greener Earth, Department of Environmental Studies, and Department of Art, Music, & Theatre

Over the past 10 years, we’ve heard a lot about the shocking disappearance of honey bees. However, many people don’t realize that North America is home to approximately 4,000 species of native bees that are irreplaceable pollinators with an extraordinary beauty all their own. In 2013, natural history photographer Clay Bolt set out on an adventure to meet, photograph and tell the stories of many of these beautiful, beneficial insects. Soon he came across a specimen of a rusty-patched bumble bee in a scientific collection and learned about its tragic decline. Determined to use his photography to create more awareness about the insect’s demise, he worked with partners to create a film, which he then shared across the country on behalf of the bee, from small venues to a rare opportunity to present it on Capitol Hill. In March, 2017 these efforts paid off, and the rusty-patched bumble bee became the first species of native North American bee to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. During this engaging presentation, Clay will share some his favorite images and stories about our beautiful native bees and what we can all do to make a difference in their lives. One thing is for certain: you’ll never look at bees the same way again!

Clay Bolt is a Natural History and Conservation Photographer specializing in macro and close-up photography with an emphasis on invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians. His work has been featured by National Geographic, Scientific American, and BBC Wildlife. He is president of the North American Nature Photography Association and is an Associate Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers. He is the co-founder of the international nature photography project Meet Your Neighbours (meetyourneighbours.net), which reconnects people with wildlife within their own communities, and Backyard Naturalists, whose mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world in children through science, art and technology. Clay’s current project focuses on North America’s native bees and the important roles they play in our lives. He was a leading voice in the fight to list the rusty-patched bumble bee as a protected species under the Endangered Species Act.