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News Release

Feb. 16, 2023

‘Occupy Valk’ series returns with spring lineup

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University is continuing its “Occupy Valk” series this spring with faculty members exploring topics facing society and the world.

“This year, we’ve chosen to focus on life today, but from various lenses – global politics, popular culture, philosophy and religion – that can help us to see the variety of ways in which diversity and social justice impact our individual and community lives,” Dr. Dawn Gilley, an associate professor of humanities and the chair of the department, said.

The concept 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.

Northwest’s “Occupy Valk” series begins its spring schedule Wednesday, Feb. 22, with a panel discussion, titled “Revisiting Ukraine and Russia,” that will examine the first year of the crisis and its impacts.

All sessions begin at 6 p.m. in Room 118 of Valk Center. The series also will be live-streamed on the Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Facebook page and archived on the department’s YouTube channel.

The complete schedule of topics and presenters this spring is provided below.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 22: “Revisiting Ukraine and Russia,” faculty panelists
  • Thursday, March 23: “May the Force Be With Us: How ‘Star Wars’ Offers Insight Into Today’s World,” Associate Professor of History Dr. Rob Voss and Senior Instructor of History Dana Ternus
  • Thursday, April 6: “What Does It All Mean? Living a Meaningful Life,” faculty emeriti Dr. Jim Eiswert and Dr. Janice Brandon-Falcone
  • Thursday, April 13: “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Religious Freedom and Social Justice,” Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Bronson Herrera


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215