Grounded in social and environmental justice and human rights, the World Issues Forum lecture series, organized by Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, will focus on topics such as music and culture, disaster risk reduction, and the role of social media in covering significant political events.
The following forums are free and open to the campus community and general public. The forums are held from noon to 1:20 p.m. every Wednesday in the Fairhaven Auditorium, unless otherwise noted below.
Wednesday, Jan. 11
“Making Schools Safe: Protecting Children from Hazards in Asia and the Pacific”
Presenter: Marla Petal, senior advisor for Education and Disaster Risk Reduction, Save the Children
Marla Petal has a long history in disaster prevention and risk reduction. Her education includes a doctorate in urban planning and MSW with focus on community organization, planning and administration. Her talk will focus on ongoing efforts to make schools in the Asia-Pacific region – the most disaster-prone area in the world – safer, thus improving school enrollment goals. Learn about global efforts to protect students and education systems, the efforts to promote change, and the policy trends when it comes to school safety in Asia and the Pacific. How does this link to similar problems faced closer to home?
Wednesday, Jan. 18
“Regionalism in Contemporary Cuban Society and Music”
Presenters: Rebecca Bodenheimer, independent scholar, writer and ethnographer
Drawing on over a decade of research conducted in various Cuban cities, Rebecca Bodenheimer will discuss regionalism in contemporary Cuban society and its manifestation in popular dance music. Her book, “Geographies of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba,” examines the intersections of race and place in the performance of various musical genres, both popular and folkloric. While regionalism is a pervasive issue in Cuba, both historically and in the contemporary moment, it has gone largely unexplored in academic research on and off the island. However, regionalist antagonism is particularly apparent in Havana, which has been the destination of migrants from various provinces, especially from eastern Cuba.
Wednesday, Jan. 25
“Masculinity, Nationalism, and Bollywood in a Globalizing India”
Presenter: Sikata Banerjee, professor, University of Victoria
Sikata Banerjee is a professor of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. She works on gender and nationalism, with a specific focus on India. Socio-political changes in the wake of globalization created by the 1991 economic reforms have configured the male body as a signifier of India’s new self-confidence on the global stage. Ascendant Hindu nationalism and the emergence of a nationalist triumphalism linked to an assertive global middle class form the material context of this signification. Culturally, this masculinized nationalism is eloquently represented in Hindi popular films which are important vehicles for disseminating dominant imaginings of nation in India. Banerjee will draw on scenes from several films to illustrate this process of masculinization.
Wednesday, Feb. 1
“Revolutionary Songs: A Centennial Celebration of the Irish Revolution of 1916”
Presenter: Peadar MacMahon, singer and multi-instrumentalist
Peadar MacMahon is a proud native of Limerick, an ancient walled city in the west of Ireland. His strength lies in his unique interpretation of historic songs. His latest project is a CD and show of the life and works of one of Ireland’s greatest songwriters, Percy French (1852-1920). MacMahon’s performance will examine the importance and role of songs as tools in the creation of the nationalist movement in Ireland. It is hoped that those in attendance will come away with a clearer view of Irish history and an appreciation for the power of song.
Wednesday, Feb. 8
“Cuba and the Colombian Peace Process”
Presenter: Ricardo Lopez, professor, Western Washington University
More information will be announced soon.
Wednesday, Feb. 15
“Transforming Outlooks and Forms of Resistance: Palestinian Public Opinion Two Decades After the Oslo Accords”
Presenters: Karam Dana, assistant professor, University of Washington - Bothell
What do Palestinians think about the peace process, their political realities, and about the world 20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords? Professor Dana will highlight the results of a unique public opinion survey that he designed and implemented in the occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank in the summer of 2013, which corresponded with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Wednesday, Feb. 22
“Standing Rock and the Media”
Presenter: Jason Begay, associate professor, director of Native American Journalism Projects at the University of Montana School of Journalism
The Standing Rock movement has become historic not only in its size and message, but in how that message was delivered. This is the first time in history that Native American people took control of their own narrative using such a massive medium as social media. Both mobile technology and social media have made it possible for Native Americans to speak directly to massive audiences worldwide and that has come with both benefits and difficulties.
Wednesday, March 1
“Development Through Design”
Presenter: Patrick Lynn Rivers, professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Kai Wood Mah, architect, design historian, and professor, Laurentian University
The new Trudeau government has made a tonal shift in Canada’s international development policies. However, not unlike many governments in the overdeveloped world, Canadian policies are still used to export and embed neoliberal rationales perpetuating global inequalities that development policies are supposed to right. Mah and Rivers suggest how design and social science, together, can advance a more progressive international development agenda.