Multicultural Student Center presents symposium on ‘race & place’

March 5, 2013

The Multicultural Student Center (MSC) and Institute for Justice Education and Transformation (IJET) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will hold their annual spring symposium "Race &..." to encourage dialogue and action around racial identity and other social justice issues.

The two-day symposium, March 14-15 at the Pyle Center on the UW campus, serves as a capstone to IJET's 2012-13 programming around "Race & Place: Movement, Space, Land, and Power."

Fifteen scholars, professors, practitioners and experts from the Madison community in multiple disciplines and fields will be presenting topics on the intersections between race and various places.

Monica White, assistant professor of environmental justice at UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, will kick off the symposium with a public lecture, "Reclamation, Reconnection, and Resistance: Black Farmers, Food Security and Justice," the evening of March 14. White documents the history of black farmers' collectives, cooperatives, and experiences in the Midwest, and studies how grassroots organizations and communities of color engage in developing sustainable community food systems in response to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility.

"It's important to our freedom that we control our food. The reason people engage in agriculture is different based on race. Communities of color have been concerned about the environment, air and water, but we haven't heard their voices using concepts such as sustainability," White explains.

Other featured guests are Becky Martinez, social justice consultant, trainer, and founder of Infinity Martinez Consulting; Lisa Brock, academic director of Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership; and Townsand Price-Spratlen, professor of sociology at the Ohio State University.

Topics covered in sessions on Friday, March 15 include:

  • Discussion on multi/bi-racial ethnic identity;
  • Emerging scholars panel with UW-Madison graduate students speaking on black lesbian and trans masculinities, black identity in James Van Der Zee's photography, and queer South Asian orientations in media;
  • Hosted lunch discussions on race and higher education, the prison industrial complex, environmental justice, media, the LGBTQ movement in Dane County and outside the United States;
  • Presentation on the oppressive history of race, documentation and the body;
  • Workshop on framing and messaging racial justice in media;
  • Training on people of color allyship for self-identified people of color to take action to move toward racial justice in solidarity with one another;
  • Presentation exploring the effects of Eurocentrism and colorism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism on identity with artist, performance poet, and educator Sharon Powell; and
  • Panel with community activists and scholars on race and incarceration in Dane County and beyond.

The full schedule can be viewed here.