Spring 2020 Events


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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.

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.

Salt of the Earth


Friday, March 20 | 7 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the Women’s Center, Diversity Center, NPR Illinois Foreign & Independent Film Series, and the Office of Student Life

Salt of the Earth presents the true story of Mexican-American zinc miners who strike to end unsafe work conditions and unequal wages with their white counterparts.  The film explores themes regarding the role of organized labor, what it means to be American, race, and feminism.  The film stands out in history as a blacklisted film, swept up in the communist panic of the McCarthy era, but has stood the test of time to give a unique perspective of the Southwest in the 50s.  Professor Richard Gilman-Opalsky, Assistant Professor Roberto Rincon, and Amy Rueff of the AFL-CIO will provide a panel discussion following the film exploring the themes presented and the continued legacy of these topics in the modern day.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is a Professor in Political Science at UIS.  Dr. Gilman-Opalsky’s teaching and research focuses on the history of political philosophy, Continental and contemporary social theory, Marxism, capitalism, autonomist politics, postmodern philosophy, critical theory, social movements and the public sphere.  He has published many works, including books and articles, on these topics.  Dr. Gilman-Opalsky was named University Scholar 2018-2019.

Roberto Rincon is an Assistant Professor in Political Science and Global Studies at UIS. Illinois, Springfield. He is completing his Ph.D. in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  His dissertation, Migrating Identities: A Transnational Study of Afro-Mexican Racial Identification, offers a transnational analysis of the ways in which legal status, phenotype and political context shape the black racial identification of Afro-Mexicans as they migrate within and across national borders.   

Amy Rueff is the Resource Director for the Illinois AFL-CIO.  As a member of Laborers Local 362, and with her coordination of labor liaisons, labor councils, and trade councils, she is well-versed in the labor movement of Illinois.  She has also been a union member for over 30 years.  In addition to her work with AFL-CIO, she serves as a Decatur Township Trustee and as a delegate to Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly.

In Search of Belonging: Latinas, Media, and Citizenship with author Jillian M. Báez

Jillian M. Báez

Tuesday, March 31 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the Diversity Center, Women’s Center, Organization of Latin American Students, and Friends of Brookens Library

In Search of Belonging by Jillian M. Báez explores the ways Latina/o audiences, but women in particular, understand and engage American mainstream and Spanish-language media. The innovative ethnographic analysis, informed by new evidence, that was done by Báez draws on the experiences of a diverse group of Latinas in Chicago.  Through in-depth interviews, the women reveal their search for recognition and belonging through representations of Latinas in films, advertising, telenovelas, and TV shows.  In Search of Belonging answers important questions about the ways Latinas see themselves and citizenship in today’s America.  Báez gives voice to U.S. Latinas as they enact cultural citizenship, offering important insights on how Latinas consume media for a sense of affirmation, belonging, and empowerment.  This book is part of the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Book Series from University of Illinois Press.

Jillian Báez is an assistant professor of Media Culture at CUNY Staten Island, specializing in Latina/o media, audience studies, transnational feminisms, and media literacy.  Dr. Báez is General Editor of WSQ (formerly Women’s Studies Quarterly).  Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation and Social Science Research Council.  She teaches a variety of courses , including : Theories of Communications, Media Audiences, Media and the Margins, Media Industries, History of Print Media, Latina/o Media, Film and Media Research Analysis, and Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  Prior to her appointment at the College of Staten Island, Dr. Báez was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College.  Báez earned her Ph.D. from he Institute of Communication Research at UIUC and her B.A. from Hunter College in Media Studies and Black Puerto Rican Studies.

What I Learned From Teaching in a Prison

Magic Wade

Monday, April 6 | 5 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

What is it like teaching in prison?  Magic Wade taught a college course to 15 incarcerated men at the Danville Correctional Center through the Education Justice Project.  In this lecture, she reflects upon her experiences teaching in the prison, shares her thoughts on expanding educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals, and answers your questions about prison-based higher education in the US.

Magic Wade holds a Ph.D.  from the University of Minnesota and has been a faculty member in the Political Science Department at UIS since 2015.  Her research and teaching evaluate the effectiveness of government policies aimed at alleviating social problems related to human welfare, public health, criminal justice, and economic inequality.  In addition to being an assistant professor at UIS, Dr. Wade works with the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign (EJP).  EJP strives to be a model college in prison program and offers for-credit courses and other educational programming to incarcerated men at the Danville Correctional Center in Danville, Illinois.  Dr. Wade has served as an instructor with EJP and is currently the for-credit course coordinator for the project, where she assists with the recruitment, hiring, and training of college instructors to work within the prison.

Zero to Hero: From Bullied Kid to Warrior, the Story of Medal of Honor Recipient Allen Lynch

Allen J. Lynch

Wednesday, April 15 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the John Holtz Memorial Lecture fund, UIS Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Friends of Brookens Library

Spend an evening with Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch, and hear about his memoir Zero to Hero that features life lessons from bullies on the playground in the 1950s, to the enemy on the battlefield in Vietnam, to the demons of PTSD he’s battled since.  Lynch is a native of Illinois, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and a Medal of Honor recipient, with a lifelong career of devoted service to U.S military veterans.  His story will speak to all of us — one doesn’t have to be a war hero to be wounded by life, and “Al” shows us the stuff of which heroes are made.  As one of 80 Medal of Honor recipients alive today, come and experience his story live, not just on the pages of his book.

Allen Lynch has spent his life serving his fellow veterans with the Federal Veterans Administration as well as the Illinois state government veterans department. He also served with the US Army Reserve and the Illinois National Guard until reaching mandatory retirement in 1994.  Allen served with Company D, 1st Battalion of the 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) from 31 May 1967 until 1 June 1968.  He had been “in-country” for six months when the action took place that would result in his receiving the Medal of Honor.  The recognition of his conspicuous gallantry and selfless service to others on that day would be the catalyst for a life of service to others.  He and his wife, Susan, have three children and are now blessed with six grandchildren.

Talking Black In America

Walt Wolfram

Friday, April 17 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS) and the English and Modern Languages Department

Keynote address at the Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS), this film and discussion addresses the creativity and resilience of people living through oppression, segregation, the fight for equality, and the powerful identity forged by a shared heritage are all expressed in the ways African Americans communicate. TALKING BLACK in AMERICA chronicles the incredible impact of African American English on American language and culture. Filmed across the United States and beyond, this documentary is a revelation of language as legacy, identity and triumph over adversity.  The executive producer, Professor Walt Wolfram, a world-renowned sociolinguistics researcher and educator, will answer questions and discuss African American language variation and its social implications.

Dr. Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, where he also directs the North Carolina Language and Life Project.  He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s and published 23 books and over 300 articles.  Over the last two decades, he and his students have conducted more than 3,500 sociolinguistic interviews with residents of North Carolina and beyond, primarily under funding from the National Science Foundation.  In addition to his research interests, Professor Wolfram is particularly interested in the application of sociolinguistic information to the public, including the production of a number of television documentaries, the construction of museum exhibits, and the development of an innovative formal and informal materials related to language diversity.  He has received numerous awards, including the North Carolina Award (the highest award given to a citizen of North Carolina), Caldwell Humanities Laureate from the NC Humanities Council, the Holladay Medal at NC State, the Linguistics, Language and the Public Award from the Linguistic Society of America. and the Board of Governors’ Holshauser Award for Public Service.  He has also served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics, and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Using Our Voices & Choices: How Growers and Eaters Can Work Together to Support Regenerative Farming in Illinois

Liz Moran Stelk

Wednesday, April 22 | 6 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Earth Day Event

Co-Sponsored by the UIS Campus Senate Committee on Sustainability, UIS Green Fee Committee, UIS Community Garden Club, and the UIS Department of Environmental Studies

Liz Moran Stelk will discuss her work as the Executive Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA), a member-based organization that seeks to create a more just and regenerative local food and farm system in Illinois and nationwide.  She will explain how our current policies perpetuate an industrial agricultural system that is both ecologically and socially damaging and why it is imperative for us to move toward more regenerative and sustainable farming and eating practices.  This transition is particularly important in the face of climate change.  She will provide specific examples of how the ISA works to make change happen at local, state, and national levels.  Her talk will help us understand how we can use our own voices and choices to help transform farming and eating for the better.

Liz Moran Stelk, Executive Director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance, is a veteran organizer with experience in sustainable agriculture policy and building powerful organizations.  Liz previously served as a Regional Organizer with the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) in Montana where she worked with farmers and ranchers in seven states on local, state and federal food and agricultural policy.  A year working on Crazy View Farm in Wilsall, Montana, with her husband David dramatically shifted the focus of her career in organizing and managing field campaigns.  While selling salad mix to Crazy View’s devout following at a small town farmers market, she was energized by the idea that if every person who shops at farmers market were organized, we could change the food system.  Before the farm, Liz organized home healthcare and nursing home workers with SEIU Healthcare Illinois and managed the field operations for the successful campaign to abolish capital punishment in Illinois. Liz co-founded and serves on the Steering Committee of the National Healthy Soils Policy Network, helping revitalize the Midwest Sustainable Ag Working Group (SAWG), and is a partner in the Regenerate Illinois collaborative.  Liz is also a UIS alum (2005).  She was a member of the first class of Capital Scholars.

Follow @lizziestelk on Twitter.

Water Diplomacy in the Middle East

Rachel Havrelock

Tuesday, April 28 | 7 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois and the UIS Global Studies Program

Rachel Havrelock will explore water diplomacy in the Middle East.  She will examine the era of the Oslo Peace Accords and the many joint Israeli-Palestinian organizations that arose subsequently. Some twenty-five years later, only one group, the trilateral Jordanian-Palestinian-Israeli NGO Ecopeace Middle East, survives.  Although confronting Climate Change and conflict at once presents considerable challenges, Ecopeace’s unique mode of environmental peacebuilding establishes shared knowledge and awareness before moving participants toward collective planning and advocacy.  This talk covers Middle East water history and the innovations making new forms of water use and distribution possible.  After appraising new projects on the horizon, she will discuss their applicability or relevance to Illinois and North American waters.

Dr. Havrelock is the founder and director of the Univerity of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Freshwater Lab and co-creator of the Freshwater Stories digital platform.  She is an Associate Professor of English at UIC and author of River Jordan: The Mythology of a Dividing Line(University of Chicago Press), as well as the forthcoming The Joshua Generation: Israeli Occupation and the Bible (Princeton University Press, 2020).

A childhood of freshwater swimming around Detroit and the Great Lakes fed Dr. Havrelock’s interest in water and environmental peacemaking with the NGO Ecopeace Middle East.  Havrelock’s current book project, Pipeline: How Oil Created the Modern Middle East and How Water Can Transform It, chronicles the role of oil extraction and infrastructure in the militarization of the Middle East and suggests how regional water management could transform the landscape.  She conducted research in the United Kingdom, supported by a fellowship at the University of Cambridge and in the Middle East on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Research award.   She received an alumni impact award from the U.S. Department of State Global Fellows Program in June 2014.  In addition to the Middle East, Dr. Havrelock’s work addresses the Great Lakes as a transborder water system both abundant and imperiled.  She holds grants from the Mott Foundation and the Humanities Without Walls Initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation.