Graduate student fellowship ends after 11 years

first_imgThe Erskine Peters Fellowship, which helped African American graduate students finish their dissertations for the past 11 years, will come to an end at the conclusion of this academic year, the Fellowship’s coordinator said. The Office of the Provost, which funds the Fellowship, decided to terminate the program. The Office did not give a specific reason for its decision, however, the program was not endowed and was funded strictly on a year-to-year basis, Erskine Peters coordinator Maria McKenna said. McKennasaid the Fellowship aimed to give students the opportunity to experience academic life. “We wanted to give African-American graduate students an opportunity in[higher education],” she said. “The second goal was for them to experience academic life at a major Catholic university.” The Fellowship, which funded two to four African-American graduate students for a year to finish their dissertations through the Office of the Provost and other funds, has seen 47 fellows in its 11-year run, she said. “It is viewed as one of the premiere pre-doctoral fellowships,” McKenna said. “It put Notre Dame on the map as one of the universities putting African-Americans into higher education.” Richard Pierce, chair of the Africana Studies department and one of the founders of the fellowship program, said the Fellowship brought remarkable individuals to campus. “We’ve had some great people come through the program,” he said. “[Writing a dissertation] is a lonely process in the academic world — it’s just you and your work. To have this program and to be part of that process with these fellows is good. I get to see the best parts of the students.” When the idea of a fellowship program for minorities came up in a conversation with First Year of Studies Dean Hugh Page in 1999, Pierce said both agreed they wanted to find a way to increase the number of diverse faculty teaching in higher education. Therefore, they established a fellowship to help students finish their dissertations and enter the teaching realm. At the same meeting, Erskine Peters — a former Notre Dame English professor who empowered his students and fellow faculty members — was declared the namesake of the Fellowship due to his diverse mindset. “Peters came here and was committed to students,” he said. “[Notre Dame] is a large experiment. Some say you can’t have reason and faith in one body. Peters challenged that — he showed that you can have this in one mind, one body and one heart.” McKenna said she believes Peters would have been honored by the fellowship. “This fellowship program meant a great deal to his family because he was such a pioneer in many ways to the academy,” she said. “Notre Dame did justice to the impact Erskine Peters had on students and the academy by honoring him with this program.” To commemorate the Fellowship, McKenna said the Africana Studies department, in conjunction with the Institute for Scholarships in the Liberal Arts, the College of Arts and Letters and the Kenneth and Frances Reid Fund, will host a conference from March 29 to March 31. “We’re having it as a finale,” she said. “The conference is ‘Africana Studies’ Impact on the Academy,’ looking at the study of African people and the diasporas around the world.” The keynote address, “Minorities in the Academy: Then and Now,” will be given by Earl Lewis, the provost of Emery University. McKenna said Lewis knew Peters when he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, before coming to Notre Dame. There are no plans to continue a pre-doctoral fellowship program like the Peters Fellowship on campus, McKenna said. Pierce said he is grateful for the Fellowship and what it taught the faculty of the University. “We fulfilled the goals we had,” he said. “However, I wish we had more people hired here that came through the program … It’s difficult to think that we didn’t keep them here. Looking at their accomplishments, though, I’m pleased with the little part we played.”last_img read more

Provost appoints academic planner for proposed School of International Affairs

first_imgNotre Dame advanced its intent to open a School of International Affairs by appointing Dr. Scott Appleby, a history professor and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, as its director of academic planning, according to a University press release. A working group of administrators recently concluded that a School of International Affairs would complement Notre Dame’s currently available academic options, according to the press release. The University has not founded a new college since establishing the Mendoza College of Business in 1921. Notre Dame Provost Thomas Burish named Appleby director of academic planning for the School of International Affairs, effective Aug. 1. Appleby will lead discussions with faculty, assess fundraising possibilities and explore potential curricula. “[Appleby’s] vast global experience, administrative acumen and high standards of excellence make him an ideal candidate to lead our collective examination of if and how to establish a new school devoted to internationalism,” Burish said in the press release. Appleby, a member of the Class of 1978, said as he develops plans for the School, he will consult with the directors and faculty of Notre Dame’s international institutes and the University’s other experts in international affairs. “My question to these potential constituencies of the School will be, ‘How could a new School enhance your capacity and advance your unit’s mission?’” Appleby said. “Our hope is to build consensus for a School that will strengthen Notre Dame’s global and international engagement.” Appleby said the School might offer a master’s program and the College of Arts and Letters might offer a new undergraduate major in collaboration with the School. “The possibility of offering joint graduate degrees is also attractive, and this requires careful thought and planning,” he said. “All of this raises the central question of faculty teaching assignments and the need to hire new faculty in areas where the University is not currently deep.” The planning committee for the School believes that governmental and nongovernmental employers would want to hire graduates trained to analyze global challenges comprehensively, Appleby said. These graduates of the School would consider economic development, peaceful resolution of deadly conflicts, human rights violations and environmental deterioration. “Our graduates must know a good deal about more than one subject,” Appleby said. “How is deadly conflict related to climate change? How can respect for human rights and international law trigger economic growth?” Appleby said the School would be a resource for businesses, educational institutions, civil society organizations and governments that recognize that advancing the human interest as a whole directly benefits them. “The world is waking up – finally – to the importance of religion, ethics and even spirituality to the just and peaceful transformation of societies,” he said. “Many corporations, philanthropists, schools and governments already know this. Others are gradually joining the parade.” The Board of Trustees and some faculty members must endorse the School before it can be established, Appleby said. “A powerful argument for moving ahead is … that the many impressive Notre Dame institutes, initiatives, scholars and students currently engaged in international study and service would receive an enormous boost from a coordinated, well-resourced program of study and research,” Appleby said. “[The program’s] purpose is to elevate Notre Dame’s capacity to place scholarship in service to the larger world.” Appleby currently leads Contending Modernities, a multi-year, interdisciplinary research and public education initiative at Notre Dame that examines the interactions of Catholic, Muslim and secular forces in the modern world, according to the press release. He will remain director of the Kroc Institute until the current search for a successor is complete.last_img read more

Students celebrate Asiatic culture

first_imgStudents will celebrate Asiatic culture and traditions Saturday during Asian Allure: Speak, a show that has continued for more than a decade. Senior Ryan Gonzales said this event is important for students who participate in the show and for the University community as a whole. “It’s not often that we get to express our culture in this way, so it’s a great thing for cast members to participate in and for the University to experience,” Gonzales said. This year’s show is titled “Asian Allure: Speak.” It will be held today at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. in Washington Hall and is approximately two hours long. Gonzales said the show will feature performances from various campus groups under the umbrella of the Asian American Association (AAA), including the newly added Tae Kwon Do club. This year’s Asian Allure will differ from shows in years past in its focus on skits and emphasis on tradition, Gonzales said. The focus on skits involves expanding the number and lengths of the skits and eliminating the fashion show and musical performances, leaving the skits and dance performances as the show’s core, Gonzales said.  Gonzales said in the past skits served as a transition between other performances, but will now act as the centerpiece of the show. “This year the skits are holding the weight of the show, the message of the show,” he said. The emphasis on tradition is a departure from past shows that sought to incorporate modern performance styles with traditional styles, Gonzales said. “Compared to years before, we are placing a particular value on tradition,” he said. “Other directors blended the modern and the traditional, but this year we’re placing a value on tradition and remembering where we came from.” This emphasis is reflected in the name of this year’s show, ‘Speak,’ Gonzales said. “What’s important is speaking the languages of the cultures,” he said.  Language carries with it the culture and history of our past. When we speak we remember, and if we speak we won’t forget.” Gonzales said Asian Allure is the biggest fall event for the AAA and Asian Allure: Speak has a cast of more than 80 students. The show and the general rehearsals that take place for a week before the show provide those in different clubs a chance to get to know each other, he said. “It’s a great opportunity for clubs to come together, meet each other and learn about different cultures they wouldn’t otherwise learn about,” Gonzales said. The event also helps to represent the level of diversity on campus, Gonzales said. “You can see [Asian Allure] as a service to the University,” he said.  “It’s a reality that there isn’t enough racial diversity at Notre Dame to accurately represent the country we live in. Asian Allure is a great display of the cultural diversity that is on campus.” Gonzales, who wrote two skits for the show himself, said he has wanted to direct the show since his sophomore year because of his interests in drama and storytelling. “I really like theatre and dance, but more than those two things I love telling stories,” Gonzales said.  Contact Christian Myers at [email protected]last_img read more

Panel discusses ethical issues in ‘Radium Girls’

first_imgExperts from the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame community contributed to a panel discussion Friday with D.W. Gregory, author of the play “Radium Girls,” which was performed on campus this weekend. The talk, titled, “Radium Girls: Opening the Door to Justice,” was sponsored by the Justice Education department. Gregory said she was inspired to write the play, a story about radium poisoning of female factory workers who painted the dials on watches in 1920s New Jersey, by a documentary about radium poisoning. “I remember watching this documentary, ‘Radium City,’ and just feeling like there was so much more to the story,” Gregory said. “I wanted to know more about what happened to the women.” Gregory said she didn’t begin work on the play until about 10 years later when she was scrolling on the Internet and discovered an article about a case in New Jersey involving radium poisoning of women. “I thought, ‘Oh gosh, here’s a play,’” Gregory said. “My original idea was that I was going to go out and find all this source material. I was going to look through diaries, journals to tell the story of the women in their own words, but I quickly found out that none of that existed in any form that I could have access to.”It became clear that if I was going to tell this story, it was going to have to be a fictitious recount.” Gregory said the culture of compliance in the 1920s contributed to creating victims, and in the specific case of radium, women were often harmed. “I knew from the beginning that I wanted to take a closer look at what it is that leads these kinds of things to happen,” she said. “For me, it wasn’t so much what happened, as it was why did it happen and why does it keep on happening.”It wasn’t just the story of the women, it was also the story of the men. And it wasn’t just the story of the men and women, but it was the story of the culture of the expectations of the time. It was about commercialization. It was about the period when women were just beginning to find their voices.” “Radium Girls” has been produced more than 300 times in the United States, Gregory said, and mostly by education theater programs in high schools and colleges. “There’s a lot in it that generates a lot of interest in a lot of different disciplines,” she said. Dan Graff, a labor historian and director of undergraduate studies in Notre Dame’s Department of History, said unions have traditionally played an important role in creating a safe workplace. At the time of the play in the 1920s, most industrial workers like the ‘radium girls’ were unprotected by unions, and they had to rely on their employers to provide a safe workplace,” Graff said. Graff said workers, especially female ones, couldn’t advocate for themselves in the way unions could have advocated for their rights. “‘Radium Girls’ hints at the workplace realities faced by workers separated by skill and usually by gender as well,” he said. “The main character, Grace, is outraged to learn that workers in the lab had screens to prevent their exposure to the radiation, unlike she and her fellow dial painters.” Barbara Fick, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, said in absence of unions, workers depended on the government to keep the workplaces safe. “In terms of government regulation in the 1920s, it was relatively new, and obviously, there were no federal regulations, so it was left up to the states,” Fick said. Unfortunately, Fick said, the regulations that did exist were inadequate. “They would identify a specific problem, but then they wouldn’t address anything else. And so the next time somebody would identify a problem, they would pass another law,” Fick said. Kelly Hamilton, associate professor of history at Saint Mary’s, said many of the women working in the factories who were exposed to the radium were young and had their whole lives ahead of them. “Most of them were young women, in mid-teens to early 20s,” Hamilton said. “The ’20s brought them opportunities, liberation to work outside the home.” Women who could produce painted dials more quickly, inserting the paintbrushes into their mouths to keep the bristles together, often were the first to die, Hamilton said. “Tragically, [this method of working] may have contributed to the most gruesome deaths from radium poisoning,” she said. Hamilton said although media at the time often portrayed girls poisoned by radium in a negative light, the young women earned public support. “These women were not victims; they fought back and were aided by other women,” Hamilton said. Patricia Fleming, provost, philosophy professor and senior vice president for Academics Affairs at Saint Mary’s, said ethics and informed consent are important in judging cases involving radiation. “Unfortunately, scientists are reluctant to say there is a clear cause and effect relationship [between exposure to radium and death of girls], but rather, there is a clear correlation,” Fleming said. Gregory”said the company in the play disregarded the ethical dilemma presented and is completely at fault for putting its workers in such a dangerous position.   “The company had information and knew there were issues. There is an issue of culpability to anyone that turns a blind eye,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the excuse, ‘I didn’t know,’ because it is your business and it’s your responsibility to know.” Contact Haleigh Emsen at [email protected]last_img read more

Flags represent lost lives on South Quad

first_imgIn commemoration of September 11, 2001, 2,977 flags on South Quad will be displayed to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks.Sophomore Jack Connors said the flags will be set out the night before and will remain on the Quad until 5 p.m.“Each one of the flags represents someone who lost their life in the terrorist attacks on 9/11,” Connors said. “They will be east of the flag pole, towards O’Shag.”Fr. Rocca will lead a prayer service at the memorial at 5 p.m, Connors said.“There will be a few readings, and then Fr. Rocca will say a few words and bless the flags,” he said.Connor said the memorial will act as a visible reminder of all those who died in the attacks.“It was such a significant event in our nation’s history,” Connors said. “It’s been a while now, and people don’t really remember it as much as they really should.“It’s just a great way to remember all those who lost their lives.”The memorial is sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom, a new club beginning the process to gain official recognition from the University and cosponsored by the Federalist Society at Notre Dame Law School.“The club is a campus education and activism club,” Connors said. “It’s sponsored by a larger national organization, which is Young America’s Foundation. There are close to thirty other colleges who are doing this same event with their help.”Connors said the flags were donated by both the American Legion in South Bend and Young America’s Foundation.Tags: 9/11, Flags, Remembrancelast_img read more

Saint Mary’s celebrates Constitution Day

first_imgTags: Constitution Day Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer Saint Mary’s commemorated Constitution Day on Wednesday with a panel to examine different perspectives and experiences in regards to the United States Constitution. The panelists, who each addressed varying opinions of the Constitution, included chair and associate professor of political science Marc Belanger, senior and communication studies major Julia Dunford and the deputy chief of staff to South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Brian Pawlowski.Constitution Day was created in 2004 by an act of Congress to commemorate the completion of the Constitution 227 years ago in 1787, said associate professor of communication studies and event coordinator Michael Kramer.This year’s theme, “Unique Ideas, Unique Experiences,” was inspired in part by a comment from Belanger, said Kramer. Belanger pointed out the uniqueness of the United States Constitution in comparison to the systems of other nations, which makes the document worth our exploration and analysis.Kramer said that Belanger’s idea relates to the idea that people in the United States have their own unique experiences engaging with the constitution.“The Constitution is unique and the ways in which we encounter it are unique,” Kramer said.Kramer said this year’s panel was chosen to provide three unique experiences and perspectives on the Constitution in line with this idea of considering the document.“Not all democracies are the same,” Belanger said. “In fact, the United States is pretty unique in the way its democracy operates. If you look at the Constitution through a comparative politics lens, you’ll see that the United States has the oldest written constitution. However, not all constitutions are written documents.“The Constitution is unique because it is relatively short and focuses on government mechanisms, not specifics.”Dunford, who spent the summer interning at the South Bend mayor’s office, said that even though she spent a large amount of time in close proximity to politics, she has not dealt with or thought about the Constitution since my high school exams.The subject brought her back to eighth grade, when her teacher gave a speech on the magic behind the Constitution, Dunford said. Her teacher explained the importance of the Constitution as the framework that allowed us to make changes and gave us a government that was sustainable.“Saint Mary’s teaches us how to discuss, research, and most importantly, how to find our voice, use it and use it often,” Dunford said.Ultimately, Dunford said she realized how the Constitution has affected her every day life.“It’s the reason I have a right and an obligation to speak,” she said.Pawlowski agreed with Dunford’s view of the Constitution’s constructive power in the United States.“Whether you’re on a local level here, whether you’re on a student governing council, whether you’re on a state legislature board — it’s really important that you think through how you view the document,” Pawlowski said.“There will always be debates. We should think about what we believe or support and why.”last_img read more

College hosts lecture addressing intersection of race, education

first_imgProfessor, author and former teacher Julie Landsman spoke on her experiences with race and teaching in a lecture Tuesday at Saint Mary’s, sponsored by the education department, Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership and the Office of Civic and Social Engagement.Landsman said she has been involved in issues surrounding race since college.“Being involved in the civil rights movement was one of the most difficult things, because of the [familial] estrangement,” Landsman said. “It was one of the biggest losses. I don’t want to minimize what the work does, and how our country is divided, but I’ve never regretted it not a day it or a day of teaching.”Landsman’s views on education and race were sprinkled with antidotes about her time teaching. Landsman said her time teaching led her to realize the need for self-reflection on educators’ own views of race.“This [a moment when a teacher realizes there own prejudice] is a teachable moment for yourself,” she said. “That risk you take can change the lives of a young student.”The use of reflection plays an important role in identifying the role of race in your teaching, Landsman said.“We need to think about what we think a classroom needs to look like,” Landsman said. “Kids can be chatting and doing stuff and they are still getting work done. … I think a lot of us have preconceived notions about how our students need to perform.”These preconceived notions are what fuels insensitive teaching, Landsman said, as teachers often have a desire to attempt to fix everything.“It is very tempting for us to jump in and think that we can explain it all,” Landsman said.Landsman said she believes this need can lead to assumptions being made.“It is important to counter a deficient assumption that we have about different groups of people and different neighborhoods — we always look at what is wrong when actually those neighborhoods have great strength and resilience,” Landsman said.“There are some dangerous things we can do as a teacher such as thinking of ourselves as saviors — thinking, ‘I’m going to save them all,’ when that isn’t the truth,” Landsman said. “They might have a strong grandmother who was raising them and is doing a wonderful job. All I saw were the deficits in their lives, not the good things.”Landsman also said it was important to recognize representations of race, especially in history.“There is a big, big problem with curriculum — with hueing to the textbook — because our textbooks are terribly biased and we need to look at the stuff that is not there. And you can be sure that the stuff that is not there is the stuff about people of color,” Landsman said.There is value in addressing the way Americans address race, Landsman said. She advocated for self-examination of how to view race and renew conversations about it.“What happens when we talk about race is that white people tend to stand back and not talk about it because they don’t want to offend, and the thing is to jump in,” Landsman said.Tags: CWIL, education, Julie Landsman, OCSE, racelast_img read more

Biological sciences professor dies at 64

first_imgRobert A. Schulz, a professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame, died Saturday, the University announced in a press release Wednesday. He was 64 years old.Schulz became a member of the Notre Dame faculty in 2007, the release said. Before joining Notre Dame, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 1976 followed by a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Georgetown University. He spent 22 years working at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.“Notre Dame was lucky to recruit Dr. Schulz from the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Research Center, where he established a strong research program,” Kevin Vaughan, associate professor of biological sciences, said in the release. “Dr. Schulz quickly positioned himself as a leader in biological sciences at Notre Dame, and he improved the visibility of Notre Dame research at the national level through his outreach.”At Notre Dame, Schulz designed a developmental biology course for undergraduates. He was known as an advocate for graduate student research projects during annual research seminars, Vaughan said.“He always held his graduate students to a pretty high level of expectation,” David Hyde, a biological sciences professor and Notre Dame’s Kenna Director of the Zebrafish Research Center, said in the release. “He wanted them to be able to generate data that would lead to meaningful research publications that would have a significant impact.”At the University of Texas, Schulz’s work included research on processes of blood formation and immunity in humans and fruit flies, particularly of the Drosophila genus. His work led to better understandings of congenital heart defects, leukemias and cancer stem cells research. Schulz received a grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2016 to study “the Drosophila immune system’s response to stress.”“[Schulz] used state-of-the art genetic approaches to answer fundamental questions about how the immune system develops in the fruit fly,” Hyde said. “He was still actively pursuing his research, for which he was well-respected in the Drosophila community worldwide.”Schulz is also remembered for loving to travel to Rome with his wife.“They always enjoyed going every year and wanted to see the Pope,” Hyde said. “At one point when they made that trip, he was within a couple of feet of the Pope during a procession at the Vatican — and that was very memorable to him, that he was that close.”A visitation will be held Friday at Kaniewksi Funeral Homes from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Saturday in Christ the King Catholic Church.Tags: biological sciences, biology, Robert Schulzlast_img read more

University professor appointed to pontifical commission by Pope Francis

first_imgIn 2017, theology professor Gabriel Reynolds was one of 15 academics who was invited to work with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) in preparation for Pope Francis’s historic visit to Cairo, Egypt.Now, three years later, Reynolds has been officially invited by Francis and head of the PCID, Cardinal Miguel Ayuso, to serve as consultor of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims.Reynolds said the invitation to head a committee within the PCID came out the blue and he responded to his appointment with a sense of humility.“There are many other more distinguished and qualified theologians whom they could have chosen,” he said with a smile. Reynolds has taught at Notre Dame since 2003, and he specializes in the study of Islam, especially its scripture — the Qur’an.In addition to earning his PhD at Yale University, Reynolds has spent a number of years studying Islam in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. He said there are two important factors to consider when studying a religion.“One is to have a critical or historical understanding of the religion … but the other important point is understanding the religion as the believers themselves understand it,” he said.Assistant professor of theology Mun’im Sirry spoke highly of his colleague’s qualifications for the position.“Professor Reynolds is a well-respected scholar among Western academia whose works on the Qur’an have been much read in the Muslim world,” Sirry said in an email.The PCID was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1964 to promote the study of other religions and interreligious dialogue with the goals of understanding, respect and collaboration.Reynolds explained that the PCID works to foster relationships between the Catholic Church and non-Christian religions, except for Judaism. The Church’s relations with Judaism and other Christian denominations have their own separate offices within the Vatican.The PCID is composed of an executive board made up roughly 30 members who are cardinals and bishops from around the world and 50 advisors called “consultors” who are experts in religious studies. The consultors advise the members through their research and knowledge in order to publish material on interreligious dialogue and organize meetings with leaders of other religions.Reynolds will serve on the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, which is a special commission of its own kind within the PCID, for five years. Composed of an executive board and eight consultors, the group works to engage study and dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Reynolds said the Commission comprised of Catholic scholars meets at least once a year to advise the magisterium — or the Pope and bishops — to advise them on Muslim-Christian relations. The Commission will also meet with various Muslim institutions to engage in and improve dialogue. Reynolds said it is important to understand there is no centralized institution which represents Islam.“There are many different institutions from Morocco to Indonesia that are in dialogue with the Vatican,” he said.Reynolds explained that understanding the work of the PCID and the Commission requires two important pieces of background information.“One is just appreciating the Catholic Church’s commitment generally to advancing relationships between religions,” he said. “There’s a particular engagement in putting enmity aside and reaching out on points of common conviction. The other point is just the particular work of Pope Francis, who has a special concern with dialogue with Muslims.”When Pope Francis met with religious leaders including The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi of in February 2019, Reynolds said the two “advanced the notion of human fraternity.”“That’s ultimately the point of most dialogue,” he said. “Getting to know, understand and love the other. Pope Francis challenges us to think no longer of the ‘other,’ per se, but as common members of the human family.” Theology professor John Cavadini of Notre Dame’s theology department also praised the selection of Reynolds for the position.“As leader of the theology department’s program in World Religions and World (WRWC) Gabriel [Reynolds] is well positioned to represent our department and Notre Dame in the Holy See’s dialogue with Islam,” Cavadini said in an email. Reynolds emphasized the importance of interfaith dialogue, especially within the context of Catholicism.“The Catholic Church teaches that Muslims and Christians believe in the same God … so it’s a conversation between believers, not just academics,” Reynolds said. Tags: Gabriel Reynolds, PCID, Pontifical Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, Pope Francislast_img read more

Activist Angela Davis addresses economic, racial inequalities in annual Hesburgh Lecture

first_imgAuthor, professor and activist Dr. Angela Davis was the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy Tuesday, which honors former University President and founder of the Kroc Institute Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh. During the virtual lecture, Davis discussed the struggles of economic, racial and gender justice.The panel included moderator Dr. David Hooker, associate professor of peace studies, junior Duncan Donahue, Lenai Johnson, a first-year in the masters of global affairs program and Amaryst Parks-King, a second-year doctoral student in peace studies and sociology. Mia Moran | The Observer Dr. Angela Davis spoke to panelists from the University and answered audience questions on racial, gender and economic struggles.The lecture began with Hooker acknowledging Indigenous Peoples Day, which was Monday, and moved on to introduce the panelists and then Davis as a distinguished professor emerita of history of consciousness — an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program — and of feminist studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. Davis is also a well-known author, penning 10 books.Davis said social movements such as the ones for racial justice and gender equality are fundamentally intertwined, and must be recognized as intersectional.“Gender is race and race is gender,” Davis said.Davis further emphasized the importance of intersectionality in environmental justice, saying that fighting climate change is the foundation for addressing other social issues.“Environmental justice is the ground zero of all social movements,” Davis said.Parks-King said Davis’ words are especially important during a year that the United States has been reckoning with racial injustice and systemic racism, in addition to a global pandemic that has disproportionally affected Black Americans.“There has been so many unprecedented and precedented things that have been exacerbated by COVID and by anti-Blackness and racial injustice that this is a critical moment to engage with Angela Davis,” Parks-King said. “I hope that people are able to hear what she has to say … especially right now.”The lecture also entertained some audience questions, such as the value in the educational system and the carceral state in Palestine. Johnson said the heightened social consciousness to issues such as these is crucial in moving forward to fight racial inequality.“People are starting to engage more with world events and recognizing the interconnectedness of movements and struggles for freedom and recognizing how there is a shared colonial legacy along a lot of countries,” Johnson said. “In order to combat that, working together in these social movements and recognizing those similarities [becomes] essential.”Toward the end of the lecture, Davis brought up capitalism and its contributions in cementing systemic racism in the United States and around the world. In order to talk about how capitalism has affected people of color, Davis said that we, as a society, need to learn how to talk about slavery.“Colonialism and slavery were the foundations of capitalism,” Davis said.Davis said abolition is important because simply placing diversity programs within firms is only an “invitation for minorities to participate in oppressive institutions,” rather than a solution to the structural oppression capitalism inherently presents.The lecture ended with Hooker recognizing that we all subconsciously or consciously understand that the “carceral system is obsolete,” or the system of prisons that is part of the perpetuation of systemic racism and oppression in the United States. Americans, he said, need to proceed to “disentangle our minds and hearts from [that] system.”Donahue said he hopes the lecture “help[s] bring more of these conversations that Angela Davis has been propagating her entire life to the campus community.”Tags: Angela Davis, capitalism, hesburgh lecture in ethics and public policy, racial justicelast_img read more