Fall 2021 Events


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Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis and restrictions on large gatherings,  ECCE Speaker Series will not host any live events during the Fall 2021 semester.

Instead, all Fall 2021 events will be pre-recorded and available on our Video on Demand page.    A listing of the Fall 2021 ECCE Speaker Series pre-recorded events, as well as the dates those recordings will be available, are listed below and can also be found in our Fall 2021 ECCE Speaker Series (Virtual) Schedule .

Recordings of ECCE Speaker Series events from previous semesters are also available on our  Video on Demand page.


 Fall 2021 ECCE Speaker Series Event Schedule

PlantBot Genetics: Working at the Intersection of Contemporary Art and Environmental Advocacy |  Wendy DesChene & Jeff Schmuki | Recording Available September 6

Co-Sponsored by the UIS Visual Arts Gallery

Artists Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki will present a lecture about their work, which combines tactical media and public space to promote critical thinking and political action on environmental issues. They operate under the guise of PlantBot Genetics Inc., a parody of Big Agricultural Firms who skillfully manipulate current food production and distribution systems. PlantBot Genetics creates installations, interventions, and collaborations that combine activism, research, and social space fostering discussion and ecological awareness. By imitating actual corporate practice, they underscore the potential consequences of the global corporatization of agriculture, the natural environment, and public space.

PlantBot Genetics will highlight how programming and exhibitions directly link to the community, and how rigorous yet poetic projects are often designed to include the local citizenry and continue long after their departure. They will share how easy and rewarding it is to go off grid, to recycle and refashion, and to encourage social responsibility and civic engagement.


Systemic Racism, Voting Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court |  Kathryn E. Eisenhart | Recording Available September 17

This lecture introduces students to the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in protecting or limiting voting rights. The focus is on the late Twentieth Century and the Twenty-first Century and examines how systemic racism affects the decisions on cases dealing with state election laws and minority rights. Shelby County v. Holder, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fifteenth Amendment will be discussed.

Voting is the primary way that citizens participate in politics and the implementation of government. Those who vote determine who will run our governments: local, state, and federal. Decisions by the Supreme Court can limit who is eligible to vote. Historically, African Americans have been denied the right to vote in many states. The current aim of many government officials is once again to limit access to voting by minorities, especially African Americans. What will be the role of the Supreme Court in protecting minority voters?

Kathryn E. Eisenhart is Emerita Associate Professor, whose appointment was to the Department of Legal Studies. She is a lawyer and active in the Illinois Bar Association’s Human and Civil Rights Section Council. Her scholarship focuses on slavery, racism and the Supreme Court.


Zero to Hero: From Bullied Kid to Warrior, the Story of Medal of Honor Recipient Allen Lynch |  Allen J. Lynch | Recording Available September 27

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.


Get Wild: How Tompkins Conservation Works to Reorient the Trajectory of Life on Earth Toward Beauty, Diversity, Wildness, and Health |  Gwen Obermeyer | Recording Available October 3

Co-Sponsored by the UIS Sustainability Committee

It is important to ask ourselves not only what the Earth can do for us, but what we can do to support the systems we live in as well. The protection of biological diversity in various ecosystems not only saves endangered species, but it also serves to aid the people who reside in these systems. Accomplishing worldwide conservation requires a hasty shift from the industrial-growth economy paradigm to one of advocacy and activism for our planet.

At the crossroads of business, advocacy, and activism exists Tompkins Conservation, a nonprofit organization that believes a shift in the current paradigm might be accomplished through the creation of new parklands on land and sea. Gwen Obermeyer, former Director of Development for Tompkins Conservation, will describe the organization’s approach to developing new protected spaces to reverse the extinction crisis, help mitigate climate chaos, and support human rights including access to clean air and water. She will explain how damaged landscapes and seascapes can rebound and human communities can flourish as a consequence of conservation, and why there is no longer room for inaction when it comes to the health of our planet. We are all called upon to do our part to create a healthy future for all life. In the words of Edward Abbey: “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

Gwen Obermeyer is the former Director of Development for Tompkins Conservation and an adjunct faculty member at Park University (Missouri), has 20 years of conservation experience, focusing on the importance of supporting protected spaces and rewilding across the globe. She received her M.P.A. in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has also studied as a Harvard Fellow and abroad at La Sorbonne.


Women Warriors Who Open Pathways and Spread Flowers: Lesbian Feminism in Mexico | Leticia Armijo,
Diana Solís, & Hinda Seif | Recording Available October 18

Who were early women to publicly declare their love for women and fight for lesbian visibility and rights in Mexico? How did they find each other and create spaces beyond bars and strict gender roles? Professor Leticia Armijo and Diana Solís, two members of the Oikabeth 2 lesbian feminist group (1982-5; one of the first in Mexico), will share Mexican LGBTQ history with photographs, differences from US activism, and how brave women challenged sexism and heterosexism despite the dangers. We will learn what some Oikabeth 2 members are doing today and the current status of lesbians in Mexico. Composer and musicologist Armijo will address her work featuring Mexican women and music. In 1997 Patria Jiménez, Oikabeth 2 co-founder with Armijo, became the first LGBTQ person elected to a federal legislature in Mexico and Latin America. Professor Hinda Seif (UIS) will introduce the context of Mexico’s lesbian feminism.

Co-founder of Oikabeth 2, Professor Leticia Armijo (Autonomous University of Querétaro, Mexico) specializes in Mexican women in music. She is director of the Women in Music Collective and Yolotli Women’s Chorus of the Indigenous Pueblos of Mexico. Armijo has received awards from Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Education and Mexico’s Society of Authors and Composers and National Feminist Front. In 2017, Armijo’s Oikabeth Warrior Symphony was performed by Mexico’s National Symphony Orchestra at Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts.

Diana Solís (B.F.A., UIC) is a Chicago-based visual artist and art educator. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Chicago, nationally, and internationally. Her images of Chicago queer history were featured in the 2021 exhibition LatinXAmerican at the DePaul University Art Museum.

Hinda Seif (Associate Professor of Women/Gender Studies and Sociology/Anthropology, UIS) researches and writes about Chicago’s Latina artists, featuring the photography and transnational life of Diana Solís. She serves on the Faculty Board of the University of Illinois Press.


Mexican Women Today: Entrepreneurship and Activism From Digital Strategies to COVID Responses | Karla Kral and Claudia Prado-Meza | Recording Not Available Due to Technical Issues

Co-Sponsored by NPR Illinois, UIS Department of Global Studies, UIS Department of Sociology & Anthropology and the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois

How have women in Mexico used digital strategies to gain political representation and challenge interpersonal and social violence? How have women found creative ways to earn a living during the COVID-19 pandemic in a nation where up to 60% work in the informal sector,? This event features two professors from the University of Colima, Mexico (UCOL), a partner institution with UIS. Dr. Karla Kral examines young women’s activism, including efforts against sexual harassment and violence and the formation of new collectives. Dr. Prado-Meza explores the efforts of women entrepreneurs (called “nenis”) to recover from the economic crisis driven by the COVID 19 pandemic and the policies that ensued. Both highlight the role of digital platforms in women’s strategies to organize and thrive in the Central West state of Colima, Mexico.

Karla K. Kral (Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Kansas) is a professor in University of Colima’s Pedagogy Department and a member of the research group “Historical and Gender Studies in Education.” Her research focuses on how gender and culture shape educational identities, experiences and opportunities. In 2018, she received special recognition by the State Congress of Colima.

Claudia M. Prado-Meza (Ph.D. in Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University) is a professor of Economics at the U. of Colima. Her interests are qualitative methods in business research, gender, and internationalization. She is part of the research work group on Transdisciplinary Business Studies and the research network on public policies on equality and labor participation with a gender perspective.


Behind the Beautiful Clothes: A History of Exploitation in the Garment Industry | Erika Holst | Recording Available November 1

What comes to mind when you think of 19th century fashion? Perhaps it is the image of long dresses with yards of billowing fabric, or sober wool suits. Yet behind the romantic appearance of historic clothing lies the darker story of the American textile and ready-made clothing industries, which provided money-making opportunities for a few and exploited the labor of countless others. This talk will explore the economic and social costs of the beautiful clothes of the past and chart the evolution of the modern garment industry in an effort to better understand the cost of “fast fashion” today.

Erika Holst is the Curator of History at the Illinois State Museum. Her most recent exhibition is Fashioning Illinois, 1820-1900, which explores the personal experience of wearing and caring for clothing in the 19th century.

Holst has worked in the public history field for more than 15 years, during which time she has curated more than a dozen exhibitions. She is currently an Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar who presents on the topic of the social and economic context of the 19th century clothing industry.

Holst’s publications include Wicked Springfield: Crime, Corruption, and Scandal During the Lincoln Era, Edwards Place: A Springfield Treasure, and Historic Houses of Lincoln’s Illinois, as well as several scholarly and popular articles. Holst holds a master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture.


Decolonizing Our Museums: What does this mean and does it change the Illinois State Museum? | Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko & Jennifer Edginton | Recording Available November 8

Co-Sponsored by UIS Campus Senate Committee on Diversity, Equal Rights, Opportunity, and Access (ROAD), UIS Committee on Sustainability, UIS Sangamon Experience

Historically, museums are intimately tied with colonization practices; this persists today. A large part of Catlin-Legutko’s and Edginton’s work in museums has focused on giving voice and power to the people whose culture and heritage are represented in the museum, advocating, through practice, for decolonizing the museum space. During their talk, they will explore what decolonization practices look like, and how to incorporate these practices in museums and other cultural institutions. Catlin-Legutko and Edginton will talk about the importance of the decolonization process and the future of the Illinois State Museum. They will challenge us to think about what we can learn from museums that can help us to decolonize other institutions, including universities.

Working in museums for more than 25 years, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko has served as a museum leader since 2001. Prior to joining the Illinois State Museum as director in 2019, Cinnamon was the director of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum where she led the organization to the National Medal for Museum Service in 2008. She then served as president and CEO of the Abbe Museum where she co-led their decolonization initiative and co-developed practices to ensure collaboration and cooperation with Wabanaki people. Cinnamon has served on numerous national and local boards including the American Association for State and Local History and the American Alliance of Museums. Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko is the author of Museum Administration 2.0 (2016), The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection (2004), and co-editor of the Small Museum Toolkit (2012). In 2016, she gave her first TEDx talk, We Must Decolonize Our Museums, (www.tedxdirigo.com). Her latest publication is The Inclusive Museum Leader (2021), a compilation of essays she co-edited with Chris Taylor and published by the American Alliance of Museums.

Jennifer Edginton is Director of Interpretation at the Illinois State Museum. Previously, she worked at the Kenosha Museum Campus working on decolonization efforts in education. Edginton holds degrees in anthropology and education from Michigan State University and the University of Kansas. She is currently working toward her Ed.D in First Nations Education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.


In Search of Belonging: Latinas, Media, and Citizenship with author Jillian M. Báez | Jillian M. Báez | Recording Available November 15

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.