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Jan. 10, 2021

Humanities and Social Sciences resuming ‘Occupy Valk’ lecture series

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The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University is continuing “Occupy Valk,” a teach-in series launched last fall to explore topics of interest in America.

During each week of the series, a faculty member representing the department will speak about an issue and its historical context, with questions and discussion afterward. This spring’s series features topics in the areas of political science, geography and criminology.

“Last semester’s series was a great success,” Dr. Dawn L. Gilley, an associate professor of humanities and the chair of the department, said, noting that the livestreamed lectures garnered more than 4,000 views. “We hope to continue that success as we broaden our approach beyond history to include our political scientists, geographers and criminologists. Our goal is to hit upon topics that are timely and relevant to what we are seeing and experiencing in our society today.”

The idea for the series originates from the 1960s when faculty at colleges and universities organized teach-ins where professors spoke about political or social justice issues. The first teach-in occurred at the University of Michigan in 1965 when faculty members and students gathered to hear speakers, have discussions and peacefully protest the Vietnam War. Since 1965, teach-ins have been used to connect social justice issues with academics, and they are part of the tradition of peaceful protest and activism.

Northwest’s spring “Occupy Valk” series begins Thursday, Jan. 21, with Dr. Jessica Gracey presenting “How the Suburbs Became White and Why It’s a Problem.”

All sessions are 7 p.m. on Thursdays through April 15 in Room 118 of Valk Center with Northwest COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. The series also will be livestreamed on the Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Facebook page and archived on the department’s YouTube channel. 

The complete spring schedule is provided below.

  • Jan. 21 – “How the Suburbs Became White and Why It’s a Problem,” presented by Dr. Jessica Gracey
  • Feb. 4 – “Can Political Violence Be Justified?” presented by Dr. Luke Campbell
  • Feb. 18 – “Plessy's Revenge: Colorblindness, Equal Protection, and the Reframing of Brown v. Board,” presented by Daniel Smith
  • March 4 – “(Don’t) Bring Me Your Tired, Your Poor: Geographies of Exclusion and the Erosion of Refuge,” presented by Dr. Emily Frazier
  • March 18 – “Diversity Means More than Race: Disability and Inclusion in Tourism,” presented by Dr. Ethan Bottone
  • April 1 – “But Wait I’m Conservative: The Natural Law Approach to Social Justice,” presented by Dr. Bronson Herrera
  • April 15 – “#MeToo Justice: Victims’ Rights and the Due Process Debate,” presented by Kasey Ragan

Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704