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News Release

Jan. 21, 2022

Humanities and Social Sciences resuming ‘Occupy Valk’ lecture series

Updated: Feb. 17, 2022

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University this spring is continuing “Occupy Valk,” a teach-in series exploring historical, political and social justice issues.

During each week of the series, a Northwest faculty member will address an issue and its historical context with questions and discussion afterward. This spring, the series is expanding beyond the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences to feature faculty from other academic departments at the University.

“We know our fellow faculty across campus also have something to say on issues of social justice and diversity,” Dr. Dawn Gilley, an associate professor of humanities and the chair of the department, said. “It is important to us that our community is exposed to as many different voices from as many different perspectives as possible. That was the spirit of the university sit-ins of the 1960s, and it is the spirit of Occupy Valk.”

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 spring “Occupy Valk” series begins Thursday, Feb. 10, with Assistant Professor of Geography Dr. Ethan Bottone presenting “Contesting Memory through Space: The Potawatomi Trail of Death.”

The series features six lectures beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursdays through April 14 in Room 118 of Valk Center. Lectures also are archived on the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences' YouTube channel

The complete schedule is provided below.

  • Feb. 10: “Contesting Memory through Space: The Potawatomi Trail of Death,” presented by Dr. Ethan Bottone, assistant professor of geography
  • Feb. 24: “White Supremacy and the Untold Story of America’s Suffragists,” presented by Dr. Tina Ellsworth, assistant professor of professional education
  • March 3: “Social Justice Through Jazz Music,” presented by Dr. William Richardson, professor of music
  • March 17: “The Politics of Want: The Potato Blight and Malthus” presented by Dr. Sarah Naramore, assistant professor of history
  • March 31: “Extra, Extra, Read all about it! Refugees in the News,” presented by Dr. Emily Frazier, assistant professor of geography
  • April 14: “What Did Marx Really Say? Why it Matters and How it's Relevant,” presented by Dr. Luke Campbell, assistant professor of political science


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215