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Appalachian’s Diversity Lecture Series begins Sept. 21
Known for attracting influential leaders and thinkers with national and international reputations, Appalachian State University's Office of Multicultural Student Development will present an array of outstanding speakers as part of its Diversity Lecture Series. They include leading scholars in the fields of sociology, religion, civil rights, social justice and children's literature.
All events are free and open to the public. For additional information about the series, contact Augusto Peña, interim director of multicultural student development, at 828-262-6252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva opens the series Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. with the lecture "It's Real! Racism, Discrimination and Colorblindness in Obamerica." His talk will be in Plemmons Student Union's Blue Ridge Ballroom.
Bonilla-Silva's presentation will challenge racial common sense, showing that new, more subtle forms of discrimination have emerged that help preserve the status quo.
He argues that while many Americans believe racism has all but disappeared, and that they live in a truly colorblind society, people of color lag behind in almost all social indicators. They are poorer, less educated and have less access to health care.
Bonilla-Silva earned a B.A. in sociology from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He held posts at the University of Michigan and at Texas A&M University before joining the faculty of Duke University's Department of Sociology in 2006. His research areas include racial stratification, social theory, critical race methods, political sociology, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and epistemology.
Shawn Hessee presents the talk "Rolling Through Adversity" Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union's Blue Ridge Ballroom.
Hessee was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of being born premature to a mother addicted to drugs. Shortly after birth, he was placed in foster care and eventually adopted into a loving family. Doctors insisted Hesee would never talk or live a normal life. He proved all wrong and has faced numerous challenges, earning such accomplishments as North Carolina Athlete of the Year and North Carolina's Most Outstanding Person.
Hessee's story is a reminder that any assumptions based on misinformation or lack of experience keep people from learning, understanding and maximizing their personal and collective potential.
Dr. Lynn S. Neal presents "Religious Intolerance in America and the Challenge of Pluralism" Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union's Blue Ridge Ballroom.
In her talk, Neal asks why, if America is the land of liberty, its citizens can't get along. She says that while American narratives often celebrate the nation's rich heritage of religious freedom, there is a less told and often ignored part of the story: the ways that intolerance and cultures of hate have manifested themselves within American religious history and culture. She says examining religious intolerance in America's past reminds us that this story has not disappeared as people continue to grapple with religious diversity and theological differences.
Neal earned her Ph.D. in religious studies from UNC Chapel Hill. A former professor at Appalachian, she teaches courses in American religious history, religion and popular culture, and religious intolerance at Wake Forest University. She is the author of "Romancing God: Evangelical Women and Inspirational Fiction (2006)" and "Evangelical Love Stories: The Triumphs and Temptations of Romantic Fiction."
She is also the co-editor, with John Corrigan, of "Religious Intolerance in America: A Documentary History (2010)," and has published other works on this topic, including "Intolerance and American Religious History" and "They're Freaks!: The Cults Stereotype in Fictional TV Shows, 1958-2008." Her current research examines the intersection of religious intolerance and popular culture.
The 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration at Appalachian features "An Evening with Angela Davis" Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Farthing Auditorium.
The renowned political activist and scholar is the author of eight books. She has lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.
In recent years, a persistent theme of Davis' work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. Through her activism and her scholarship during the last decades, Davis has been involved in the nation's quest for social justice. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – emphasizes the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender equality.
"Heather's Mommies Get Married: Homophobia, Censorship and Family Values" is the topic of author Lesléa Newman's presentation Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union's Blue Ridge Ballroom.
Newman will discusses her classic children's book, "Heather Has Two Mommies," and why she wrote the book, how difficult it was to get it published, and the controversies that arose as it became one of the most controversial books ever published. She also will discuss the rights of gay and lesbian families and delve into the history of the LGBT marriage movement. The presentation includes a slide show and video.
Newman is also the author of many books for adults that deal with lesbian identity, Jewish identity and the intersection and collision between the two. Other topics that she explores include AIDS, eating disorders, butch/femme relationships and sexual abuse. Newman has received literary awards including poetry fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award finalists.
The Diversity Lecture Series concludes Tuesday, April 24, 2012, with the lecture "Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)." Faith S. Holsaert and Martha Noonan present the lecture at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union's Blue Ridge Ballroom.
Much has been written about the courage and tenacity of the male ministers and activists of the Civil Rights movement. Less is known about the women in the movement. The book "Hands on the Freedom Plow" features the personal stories of 52 women.
Holsaert and Noonan, two of the book's six editors, will present a sweeping personal history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Holsaert lives in Durham and is a teacher and fiction writer and has remained active in lesbian and women's, antiwar and justice struggles. Noonan is a community organizer, activist, homemaker and teacher of history including the Civil Rights Movement. She lives near Baltimore.
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Posted on September 7, 2011 by ASU News.