Spring quarter’s World Issues Forum lecture series, held by Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, will expand upon global ideas regarding climate change, political asylum, engaging with cultures abroad, Indigenous exploitation, globalization and the Civil War.
Open to the public, these forums are free and feature renowned authors and researchers. The forums will be held through May 29, every Wednesday from noon to 1:25 p.m. in the Fairhaven College Auditorium, unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday, Apr. 24
“Finding the Good – Rwanda’s Pathways Back to Trust”
Presenter: Carl Wilkens, an American who chose to stay in Kigali, Rwanda throughout the 1994 genocide.
Topic: In this presentation, Wilkens will share about recent visits to Rwanda as well his personal stories from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The “firing” of new brain pathways is one of the powerful tools and practices he has learned from survivors, perpetrators, and his own journey with PTSD.
Wednesday, May 1
“Indigenous Women’s Legal Strategies & Salish Sea Crossings”
Presenter: Katrina Jagodinsky, associate professor of History at the University of Nebraska and inaugural Jack and Nancy Farley Distinguished Visiting Scholar in History at Simon Frasier University.
Topic: This presentation will outline the legal codes that made Indigenous women vulnerable to economic and sexual exploitation in Washington Territory and chronicle the strategies of Salish woman Nora Jewell in overcoming her vulnerabilities as she grew up on San Juan Island and maintained family ties throughout Salish Sea and mainland communities from 1864-1910.
Wednesday, May 8
“Climate Change and the Politics of Freedom”
Presenter: Elisabeth Anker, associate professor of American Studies and Political Science at George Washington University. She is the author of “Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom,” a finalist for the Lora Romero Prize for the Best First Book in American Studies.
Topic: This presentation will argue that different understandings of freedom, which connect humans to nature in less dominating ways, offer new possibilities for challenging climate change. It will offer wild and surprising sites for reimagining freedom today – in human guts, household dust, drought planes and environmental pollution sites.
Wednesday, May 22
“Mexican Asylum Cases in the United States”
Presenter: Carlos Spector, immigration attorney based out of El Paso, Texas.
Topic: Attorney Carlos Spector will examine generally how extortions, kidnappings, and human rights violations in Mexico by authorized crime displaces Mexican citizens resulting in their fleeing to the United States in search of political asylum. In this presentation he will also discuss how the U.S. asylum legal framework tends to reinforce the widespread misconception that such crimes do not occur and that the Mexican government is able and willing to control organized crime. Additionally, it will be argued that the 90 percent denial rate of Mexican asylum claims is rooted in the history of U.S. asylum law, foreign policy and fluid domestic considerations. The presentation will focus upon the experience of Mexican asylum seekers in the El Paso, Texas area from 2008-2017.
Wednesday, May 29
“The Calculus of Violence: How Americans Fought the Civil War”
Presenter: Aaron Sheehan-Dean, the Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies at Louisiana State University and chairman of the LSU History Department. He teaches courses on nineteenth-century U.S. history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History. He is the author of “The Calculus of Violence: How Americans Fought the Civil War,” “Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia,” and “Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War” and is the editor of several books.
Topic: The Civil War is sometimes remembered as the last “gentlemen’s war” of the nineteenth century and sometimes remembered as the first terrible modern war. In fact, it was both these things at once, a restrained and just war and a bloody and indiscriminate one. In this presentation Sheehan-Dean will speak on the conflict and how it raises important questions about how democracies wage war.