Spring 2019 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.


Spring 2019 Community Event Schedule (PDF printable version)


Violent Video Games – The Myths, The Research, and The Red Dead Redemption

Christopher Ferguson

Monday, January 28 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Do violent video games really contribute to violence in society?  Despite sensationalist news headlines and claims from politicians, evidence now clearly suggests they do not.  Continuing the moral panic over video games and technology can distract society from pressing social issues such as mental health reform and gun policies.  At present data from multiple studies suggests that violent games predict actual violence no better than a coin toss.  Likewise, concerns about video game or technology “addiction” are not firmly based in solid data.  This talk offers tips for separating the technopanic rhetoric from good data on issues related to video game use and its impact on children.  The problems with societal distractions onto moral panics and away from other more serious concerns can be applied to multiple other areas of social concern as well, providing a tool-kit for critical thinking.  Many other good-faith advocacy claims and efforts (e.g. implicit racial biases, stereotype threat, rape prevalence estimates, etc.) have similarly run afoul of data contradicting them.  Suggestions for improving the quality of advocacy and remaining data focused are discussed.

Christopher Ferguson holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Central Florida. He has clinical experience particularly in working with offender and juvenile justice populations as well as conducting evaluations for child protective services. In 2013, he was awarded a Distinguished Early Career Professional Award from Division 46 (media psychology and technology) of the American Psychological Association. In 2014, he was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association through Division 1 (General Psychology, effective January, 2015). In addition to his academic work he has published a historical mystery novel entitled “Suicide Kings” and “Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong.”


The History of Springfield – From 1908 to Now

Film Screening and Panel Discussion with NAACP Representatives

Friday, February 8 | 4:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by UIS Diversity Center and NAACP

This Black History Month event will begin with the screening of the 30-minute film “Springfield Had No Shame: The Springfield Race Riot of 1908”. It will then be followed by a panel discussion with the current president of NAACP’s Springfield and Illinois Chapter, Teresa Haley, as well as previous presidents, and members of the NAACP. The panelists will discuss the history and plight of the NAACP since its establishment in 1909 up until now, 110 years later.


Sanctuary Healthcare for All: Public Health Protecting the Rights of Immigrants and Marginalized People

Susan Avila

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

Cosponsored by Public Health Student Association

“Sanctuary Healthcare” is a term used to describe the health care system that is a welcoming, accessible, and safe place for ALL, regardless of immigration status. The current political climate in the country has generated fear, anxiety, hopelessness among immigrants. These group of individuals currently do not seek care for their existing medical conditions for the fear of being arrested and deported.

Susan Avila is a Registered Nurse who completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at St. Louis University and her Master’s in Public Health at University of Illinois. She currently is a Lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.  She has worked in a broad spectrum of roles from a public health nurse based in one of the first established community health centers nationally to bedside nursing in acute care institutions. She was a member of Mayor Washington’s administration and rebuilt the food protection program. Working within the field of injury prevention and trauma care, she designed and implemented a violence prevention curriculum with collaborating partners; obtained and managed external grant funding for programmatic and research initiatives in violence prevention, palliative care in trauma setting, child safety and elder maltreatment. Collaborating with faculty at the UIC School of Public Health, she has published in the areas of occupational injury, violence prevention and elder maltreatment. She serves as co-chair of Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia 7th District Health Task Force with the focus of advising and tracking issues impacting the health of those within the 7th District.


The Plight of Rohingya Refugees of Myanmar

Azeem Ibrahim

Tuesday, February 26 | 7:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by College of Public Affairs & Administration

The Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group living in the predominantly Buddhist country of Myanmar, are described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted people in the world. The re-emergence of a newly democratic Myanmar on the global stage has been accompanied by international scrutiny of its maltreatment of minority groups resulting in the recent creation of a high-level commission on the issue led by former UN Secretary Kofi Annan.  Ibrahim argues that the use of religion as a unifying nationalist sentiment has left the Rohingya disenfranchised and marginalized.

Azeem Ibrahim completed his PhD from the University of Cambridge and served as an International Security Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, World Fellow at Yale and a Rothermere Fellow at the University of Oxford. Dr. Ibrahim has been researching the Rohingya crisis for over half a decade and is the author of “Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide” (Hurst: 2016) – currently the only book on the Rohingyas crisis. To undertake research for his book, Dr. Ibrahim made numerous trips to Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand over a number of years. He has also published op eds on the topic in the New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Telegraph, Newsweek, CNN, Foreign Policy and many others and is regularly invited to advise policy makers on this issue in the US, UK, EU and UN.


Hiking the Keystone XL Pipeline: A 1700-Mile  Eco-Adventure

Ken Ilgunas

Thursday, February 28 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by UIS Campus Senate Committee on Sustainability, Department of Environmental Studies, UIS Green Fee Committee, and Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE)

Award-winning author Ken Ilgunas spent 5 months hiking the entire length of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which will deliver oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas. Along the way, he collected stories from landowners about how the pipeline will impact their lives, local environments, and the global climate. Ken will share what this journey taught him about environmental politics, climate change, and culture in the American heartland. He will take an environmental studies approach, weaving together science, history, personal reflection, cultural studies, and  environmental philosophy.

Ken Ilgunas is a professional travel and environmental writer, who has penned articles for the New York Times, Time, Backpacker, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also the author of three books that have been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and NPR and in The New Yorker and National Geographic, and NPR. He holds a B.A. from SUNY Buffalo in history and English and an M.A. in liberal studies from Duke University.


Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis

Keona Ervin

Monday, March 25 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by Department of Sociology Anthropology, Department of Women and Gender Studies, Department of History, Department of African-American Studies, Department of Political Science, Provost’s Office, and UIS Diversity Center

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Keona K. Ervin will examine one history of Black women’s leadership in our region based on her book “Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis” (U of Kentucky Press, 2017), which won the 2018 Missouri History Book Award. From the 1930s to 1960s, Black women formed a community-based culture of resistance to fight for employment, a living wage, dignity, representation, and political leadership. Their politics played an important role in defining urban political agendas. Professor Ervin sheds light on the overlapping civil rights and labor movements during the first half of the 20th century.

Keona K. Ervin is Assistant Professor of African-American History and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Black Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has served as Center for Missouri Studies Faculty Fellow at the State Historical Society of Missouri. Her current projects examine the history of black women and the U.S. labor movement and working-class organization and black radical politics in the late 20th Century.


Political Culture and Agency  in Mexico: Lessons from the 2018 Elections

Cristina Tapia Muro

Tuesday, April 9 | 7:30 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by World Affairs Council of Central Illinois (WACCI), Department of Sociology Anthropology, and Department of Women and Gender Studies

The audience will be introduced to the political history and culture of Mexico through the 2018 landslide election of Manuel Andres López Obrador (AMLO) of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). An advocate of the working class, the new president is also a critic of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that has dominated national politics. This presentation will explore the history of Mexico’s political leadership, placing emphasis on the political, social, and economic factors that contributed to AMLO’s election, including the role of clientelism (a system of political patronage) and corruption and efforts of the current government to eradicate it. Many Mexicans feel that the election of AMLO is a “new Mexican Revolution.” “Working together,” AMLO said, “We are going to make history.” How have AMLO and the Mexican citizenry faced the challenges of Mexican democracy and political participation so far?

Cristina Tapia Muro is a Tenure-Track Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Colima, Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Economics and Administrative Sciences with Public Policy Orientation from the University of Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico. She has also a post-doctoral specialization on Public Policy and Gender Justice from the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) and the Latin American College of Social Sciences ( FLACSO), Brazil. Dr. Tapia has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on clientelism in Mexico in such venues as Estudios Sociologicos, and the Asian Journal of Latin American Studies, among many others.


Queer Poets of Color: Undocupoets and Migrant Literary Activism

Christopher Soto

Thursday, April 11 | 4:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by Gender and Sexuality Student Services, UIS Diversity Center, Organization of Latin American Students, and Black Student Association

To conclude the Day of Silence on campus, Christopher Soto will discuss queer of color poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to the age of mass incarceration with an emphasis on undocumented literary activism. During this event, students will explore the intersections of queer identities and poetry with activism as it relates to undocumented youth as well as carcerality.

Christopher Soto is a poet based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of “Sad Girl Poems” (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and the editor of “Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color” (Nightboat Books, 2018). He cofounded the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers. In 2017, he was awarded “The Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism” by Split This Rock and he was invited to teach a “Poetry and Protest Movements” course at Columbia University, as part of the June Jordan Teaching Corp. In 2016, Poets & Writers honored Christopher Soto with the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award. He frequently writes book reviews for the Lambda Literary Foundation. He is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU, where he was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop Fellow.


How to Survive the Robot Apocalypse

David J. Gunkel

Wednesday, April 17 | 6:00 p.m. | Brookens Auditorium

Cosponsored by Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS)

The theme for STARS 2019 is “technology and humanity.” We are in the middle of a robot apocalypse. The machines are now everywhere and doing virtually everything. We chat with them online, we collaborate with them at work and we rely on their capabilities to manage many aspects of our increasingly complex data-driven lives. Consequently, the “robot invasion” is not some future catastrophe that will transpire as we have imagined it in our science fiction. So we need to grapple now with the ethical decisions about the robots we’ve created. This lecture examines how humans depend on technology, and the philosophical implications of machine learning and the rights of artificial intelligent agents.

David J. Gunkel is an award-winning educator and scholar, specializing in the philosophy of technology with a particular focus on information and communication technology. He is the author of over 70 scholarly articles published in journals of communication, philosophy, interdisciplinary humanities, and computer science. He has published nine books and has lectured and delivered award-winning papers throughout North and South America and Europe. Dr. Gunkel currently holds the position of Presidential Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University. His teaching has been recognized with numerous awards, including NIU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2006 and the Presidential Teaching Professorship in 2009.