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News Release

Aug. 24, 2021

Humanities and Social Sciences resuming ‘Occupy Valk’ lecture series

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University this fall is continuing “Occupy Valk,” a teach-in series exploring topics of social justice and diversity relevant to the current cultural climate.

During each week of the series, a faculty member representing the department addresses an issue and its historical context with questions and discussion afterward.

“It became glaringly apparent over the summer with the controversy over Critical Race Theory that many people still lack a clear understanding of diversity and how it is studied,” Dr. Dawn Gilley, an associate professor of humanities and the chair of the department, said. “The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is committed to shining a light on issues of social justice so that we can prepare for and achieve a better future in which everyone is understood and accepted for who they are.”

The idea for the series originates from the 1960s when faculty at colleges and universities organized teach-ins where professors spoke about historical, 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.

The “Occupy Valk” series begins Thursday, Sept. 9, with historians of Northwest presenting “Diversity, History and the Classroom."

All sessions are 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Nov. 18 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 fall schedule is provided below.

  • Sept. 9 – “Diversity, History and the Classroom,” presented by historians of Northwest
  • Sept. 23 – “The Worst Case You’ve Never Heard Of: The Supreme Court and the Assault on Voting Rights,” presented by Daniel Smith
  • Oct. 7 – “We the People Revisited,” presented by Matthew Johnson
  • Oct. 21 – “Why Slavery?” presented by Dr. Kimberly Casey
  • Nov. 4 – “For the Love of Eros: Sexual Diversity in the Ancient World,” presented by Dr. Dawn Gilley
  • Nov. 18 – “Education as Extermination: American Indian Schools,” presented by Dana Ternus


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215