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2017 - 2018 Program Descriptions

Tuesday, October 17th

Black Lives Matter & Police Homicide of Black People  

This presentation identifies and discusses the disparity in police killing of Black people and the lack of government and judicial oversight holding individual police officers and police departments accountable. Presenters offer reasons for the disparity and recommend changes, beginning with recognizing the importance of “Black Lives Matter.” 

  • 13th by Ava DuVernay. Netflix. Emmy-award winning documentary on US prison system & national history of racial inequality. 
  • Note: Please bring a smartphone or other device w/ a web browser.

Teaching Racial Justice through Music History  

This presentation will raise students’ awareness of composers of color within the classical tradition while discussing strategies for teaching music history in a racially just and representative way. Three faculty presenters will cover diverse educational issues (curricular objectives, course design and themes, assignments, implicit bias), using examples from our own courses across the music history curriculum. These diverse approaches are intended to empower participants, especially educators, to consider racial inclusion and equality essential pedagogical concerns, regardless of the audience or subject matter.   

Note: Please bring a smartphone or other device w/ a web browser.

Resisting Prejudice: One Picturebook at a Time

Not just teachers, but anyone who cares about strengthening children’s resilience in the face of prejudice – in the classroom, at home, in our immediate and extended families, in our communities, our society and world – has a responsibility to understand the earliest beginnings of prejudice and ways to empower children to resist prejudice. Participants will

- learn about the earliest beginnings of prejudice in childhood,
- explore diverse children’s and young adult literature, and
- practice ways to discuss and listen to children and young adults to build words and mindsets to challenge stereotypes and prejudice.

Health Care as a Right or Privilege?

Presenters in this session will share information about the following topics & answer participants' questions on these issues

- the racial/class-based inequities associated with the health/sick care system,
- their own rights to healthcare access, both on and off the SUNY Potsdam campus,
- the health/sick care resources available to them,
- & health insurance and how it is accessed.

Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice  

Here, we’ll discuss several ways in which interdisciplinary investigation is well-suited for racial justice efforts. First, problems of racial justice are complex enough that we can rarely expect to solve them within the confines of any one particular discipline. Furthermore, many disciplinary boundaries that we recognize are idiosyncratic to Europe after the early 19th century. To discuss these points, we’ll look to the Classic Maya, Medieval Islam, and late 19th/early 20th century Africana thought.

Wednesday, October 18th

Understanding OUR Struggle: Identity and Intersectional Protest

This session will introduce the concept of intersectionality – the interconnected nature of social identities -- and provide examples of key figures in social protest movements who have practiced intersectionality with varying degrees of success. Participants will create their own “calls to change,” then consider how we might move beyond single-issue activism towards a more inclusive and intersectional approach to action. 

Defending our Dreamers: The Political Economy of DACA

After some immigration background information, this session focuses on the Dream Act and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. Through a political and economic lens we will show that it is in the interest of many to reach a compromise in Congress which will continue to grant DACA recipients legal status. We will contemplate ways in which we can try to influence politicians to embrace such a compromise.

What Not to Wear: Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?

This session will examine the concept of cultural appropriation, which is among the most hotly debated topics in contemporary popular culture. We will explore several examples of cultural appropriation, both past and present, in the US and other world regions. Taking a historical and cross-cultural perspective will reveal not only the concept’s relationship with race, class, sexuality, wealth and power, but also the significance of “context” in determining the boundary between appreciation and appropriation. This session is co-presented by a professor and the e-board of the College’s First Nations Students Association.

Beyond Fragility: Recognizing Institutional Racial Privilege

This session will explore ways to define and recognize white privilege as part of intersectional identities, in order to prepare to act in support of racial justice. We’ll consider key concepts and tools created by both scholars and activist educators. The session includes a screening of the film White Like Me: Race, Racism, and White Privilege in America, a documentary which argues that white privilege continues to shape individual attitudes, electoral politics, and government policy in the US in ways too many white people never stop to think about.