Spring 2020 Events


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ECCE Speaker Series Community Event Schedule

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, all of the remaining ECCE Speaker Series events scheduled for the Spring 2020 semester have been postponed until the 2020-2021 academic  year.


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.

Beyond the Status Quo: Finding Your Non-Traditional Interfaith Identity

Parth Bhansali

Thursday, January 30 | 7 p.m. | Student Union Ballroom

No matter your profession or faith, in order to develop and sustain a collegial and productive work environment, it is important to understand your own faith-based beliefs, and to be aware and understanding of the faith-based beliefs of your peers in the field in which you work.

Parth Bhansali will present and examine interfaith challenges from a Hindu perspective, the importance of interfaith work in non-faith-based professions, and discuss ways to empathize and educate those who do not know much about different faiths.

The workshop component of this event will explore the challenges of religious identity in the workplace. Participants will discuss interfaith scenarios in small groups, navigate issues of religious and professional identities, and expand their awareness of interfaith challenges.

Parth Bhansali is a Chicago-based first-generation Indian-American.  He became involved with interfaith work while a student at Benedictine University, where he co-founded the Movement of Students Achieving Interfaith Cooperation (MOSAIC).   He aspires to transform interfaith conversation into something that transcends the faith-based community and hopes to inspire you to do the same.

Locational Identity: Moving from Trauma to Freedom


Monday, February 10 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the UIS Visual Arts Gallery and the Chicago Artists Coalition

Jeff Robinson will moderate a panel discussion with Chicago-based artists Mark Blanchard, Cass Davis, kwabena foli, and Kelly Kristin Jones. Through their artwork, these artists engage with place in order to clarify personal and collective identity, promote a sense of belonging, and spark agency and resistance against an alienation that results from attempts to erase difference and homogenize space.  The conversation will center around each artist’s practice and how their artwork relates to these themes.  The panel discussion will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience. This discussion will coincide with an exhibition of work from all four artists in the UIS Visual Arts Gallery. The gallery will be open for a light closing reception following the ECCE Speaker Series event and will offer an opportunity to experience the artworks on display to supplement and enhance the conversation surrounding the ideas addressed by the panel.

Mark Blanchard, Cass Davis, kwabena foli, and Kelly Kristin Jones are Chicago-based artists and current artists-in-residence at Chicago Artists Coalition.  Blanchard received an M.F.A. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  His work explores identity within the framework of considering the misrepresentations applied to persons of color propagandized through mainstream media in the U.S. Davis examines their Midwestern Evangelical upbringing in order to understand relationships between redemption, resurrection, embodied trauma, and the failure of the American dream.  They hold an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. foli holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from SIU Carbondale.  He uses visual poetics & performance to address trauma, health, pop culture and social life, and works to fight against erasure and silence.  Jones uses her photo-based installation work as a vehicle to explore competing narratives within urban cultural landscapes.  She received an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Cori Bush: “I Am the People I Serve”:   A Film and Conversation  on the Pursuit of Social Justice

Cori Bush

Thursday | February 20 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the UIS New Voices in Racial Justice Series (Series organizer: Dr. Roxanne Marie Kurtz), UIS Diversity Center, UIS Women’s Center, and UIS Department of Philosophy

In 2018, an unprecedented election took place: never had an election year seen so many incumbents challenged from within their own parties by candidates running for office from diverse backgrounds. Cori Bush was one of these inspiring candidates. The day after the U.S. presidential election, filmmaker Rachel Lear began her work to document the journeys of four women who entered politics to fight for justice for their communities: Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela. Lear’s efforts culminated in the inspiring Sundance award-winning documentary, Knock Down The House, a powerful film that both captured this incredible moment in our political history and provides insight on the importance of pursuing political office to advance social justice moving forward.

Join us for a public screening of Knock Down The House and the opportunity to participate in a deep and candid conversation with featured speaker Cori Bush about her own experience, the goal of getting diverse voices into political office, and why these voices matter to real representation.

A native St. Louisan, Cori is a single parent, a registered nurse, a pastor, an activist, and a community organizer. Cori emerged as a community leader through her work on the frontlines of the Ferguson movement as a protester, as clergy, as a medic, and as a victim of police assault.  In 2018, Cori received national recognition for her aspirational campaign, centering everyday people, as she sought to become the first black congresswoman from her state.  As a result of her bold leadership, and the strength of her challenge to the incumbent, Cori’s campaign was featured in the documentary Knock Down The House. To help bring her community through so much adversity — racism, sexism, misogyny, inequality, and corruption — the strength of Ms. Bush’s commitment to a bold fight for justice, equality and equity for all shines clear.

College Students and Reparations: A Georgetown University Slavery Descendant’s Story

Mélisande Short-Colomb

Monday, February 24 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Black History Month Event

Co-Sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Women and Gender Studies, Diversity Center, Black Student Union, UIS Black History Month Academic Ad Hoc Committee, Brookens Library, Department of Political Science, Global Studies, and the UIS Office of Access and Equal Opportunity

What are arguments for and against reparations for slavery, and what might restitution look like? How are some of America’s finest universities and college students closely connected to slavery? UIS welcomes Mélisande Short-Colomb, who was recently informed that her ancestors were two of 272 enslaved people owned by the Jesuits of Georgetown U. and sold in 1838 to keep the university afloat.  Granted legacy status and enrolling at Georgetown, she joined students in documenting the university’s slavery history, grappling with the reparations question, organizing and voting for a semesterly restitution fee, and debating how to best use the fees.  Learn about and discuss this concrete example of college students, alumni, a campus community and restitution with “Meli”.

Mélisande Short-Colomb is a descendant of Abraham Mahoney and Mary Ellen Queen, two of the 272 enslaved people sold by the Society of Jesus in 1838. The profits of that sale helped to save Georgetown University by paying down the crushing debt that threatened the school.  She learned of her ancestors’ connection to Georgetown when she was contacted by a genealogist working on tying the descendants of enslaved people to the Georgetown Jesuits.  In 2017, Mélisande Short-Colomb became a freshman at Georgetown U. at age 63, an activist, and a passionate student of History.  Mélisande grew up in Louisiana, where her ancestors were “sold down the river” from Maryland, worked as a professional chef, and is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina.  She and her remarkable story and perspective have been featured on CNN, Forbes Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Pleasure & Politics of Latino Popular Music: University of Illinois Press Latino Book Series 15th Anniversary Celebration

Frances Aparicio

Monday, March 2 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the University of Illinois Press, UIS Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Women and Gender Studies, and UIS Diversity Center

What do you know about Latino popular music?  How can we enjoy music while listening critically?  Please join Frances Aparicio, former director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University, in a celebration of the 15th Year Anniversary of the University of Illinois Press Latinos in the Chicago and the Midwest Book Series.  As its founding editor, Professor Aparicio will share the history and impact of this groundbreaking series and her passion for Latina/o popular music.  Through guided listening to music, she will introduce us to Latino music forms as we learn how to be music critical listeners.  Through entertainment, we will explore the politics of sonic traditions, the construction of Blackness, and the role of women in popular music.  She will reveal the ways that local music traditions help Puerto Ricans’ grief and healing after Hurricane Maria in the midst of colonial neglect and abandonment.

Dr. Frances Aparicio is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese and was Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University.  She is author of the award-winning Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latin Popular Music and Puerto Rican Cultures (Wesleyan 1998), and co-editor of various critical anthologies, including Musical Migrations (Palgrave, 2003).   A founding editor of the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Book Series at the University of Illinois Press, she has facilitated and fostered book publications and new research on Latino/as in the Midwest.  Her recent book in this series, Negotiating Latinidad (2019), explores the lives of “intralatino/a subjects” in Chicago, individuals who are of two or more national Latin American origins.