Poverty, Equity, & Social Justice: OCEP Lecture & Conversation Series
The USF Office of Community Engagement & Partnerships, in collaboration with the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, will present a lecture and conversation series on Poverty, Equity, and Social Justice. The series will foster community dialogue about how the humanities and social sciences help us understand poverty, equity, and social justice in our communities. Each lecture will be followed by a moderated discussion among the audience, the speaker, and conversation facilitators. The conversation facilitators will be community partners or members of the community who are expert practitioners in the topics covered by the featured presenter. Each event will end with an open-discussion networking period and refreshments.
Co-sponsors for this series include WUSF, USF ResearchOne, the USF Humanities Institute, the USF Department of Anthropology, Community Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast, and the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative.
Our final lecture for this series will be:
October 28, 2 – 4 pm - African American and Latino Histories in the Americas: Thinking Comparatively about Emancipation, Liberation and Citizenship, by Paul Ortiz, PhD
This lecture will be drawn from Professor Ortiz’s forthcoming book for Beacon Press’s Revisioning American History series, Our Separate Struggles Are Really One: African American and Latino Histories. The outline of American history offered here stresses the centrality of freedom struggles of African Americans and Latinos in the making of the republic, and the creation of what Elizabeth “Betita” Martínez calls a “New Origin Narrative” in the 21st century that foregrounds the voices of Latinas and all oppressed people who are still too often denied agency or ignored altogether by standard history texts. Martínez writes, “We can go on living in a state of massive denial, affirming this nation’s superiority and virtue simply because we need to believe in it. We can choose to believe the destiny of the United States is still manifest: global domination. Or we can see a transformative vision that carries us forward, not backward. We can seek an origin narrative that lays the groundwork for a multicultural identity centered on the goals of social equity and democracy.”
Previous lectures in this series have presented:
January 22, 11 am - 1 pm - The Misunderstanding of Poverty: Memes, Metaphors, and Big Data, by Susan Greenbaum, PhD
Blaming poverty on poor people, instead of societal failures, has long roots in political history. Stubbornly high rates of poverty have intensified debate over causes and solutions. Professor Greenbaum’s presentation explores alternative explanations of poverty and scholarship in support of both positions. Humanistic research and theorizing about poverty offer a critical counterpoise to the highly technical quantitative research made possible by advances in statistics and computing. This premise is illustrated in the current panic over "concentrated poverty" and policy preferences for social engineering (e.g. relocation) instead of community development.
February 26, 2 – 4 pm - Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South, by Angela Stuesse, PhD (NOTE: The original advertised date was February 12, but due to a scheduling conflict, the date for this lecture has been postponed to February 26. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.)
How has Latino immigration transformed the rural South? In what ways is the presence of these newcomers complicating efforts to organize for workplace justice? Based on six years of collaboration with a workers’ center, Professor Stuesse explores how Black, white, and new Latino Mississippians have lived and understood these transformations, showing that people’s racial identifications and relationships to the industry prove vital to their interpretations of the changes they are experiencing. Illuminating connections between the area’s long history of racial inequality, poultry’s growth and drive to lower labor costs, immigrants’ contested place in contemporary social relations, and workers’ prospects for political mobilization, Stuesse paints a complex ethnographic portrait of globalization, calling for organizing strategies that bring diverse working communities together in mutual construction of a more just future.
April 8, 2 – 4 pm - Between Death and Life: Why Communication Matters When We Talk About Social Justice, by Aisha Durham, PhD
Communication explores how we make sense of the world and our place in it by using a shared language or representation system. The new(s) necropolitical spectacle of young black death in the face of vibrant youth-driven black culture suggests blackness can be viable as long as it is docile, commodified, or contained. Blackness remains at the crux of defining citizenship and the American democratic project. It is in the centering of the doing-being black body that activists, artists, and academics alike challenge age-old representations recycled for a new generation because they are matters of death and life. Adopting an interpretive, intersectional, and interdisciplinary approach to studying communication and media, Professor Durham describes how the performance, regulation and representation of blackness today informs how we talk about poverty, inequity, and social justice.
May 13, 2 – 4 pm - Community, Identity, and Storytelling, by Fanni Green, MFA
This talk is based on Professor Green’s research and exploration in directing the Suzan Lori Parks play, In The Blood, at Stageworks Theatre, February 4th -21st. The talk utilizes the play’s story of being female, black, and poor in America as a format for building community through storytelling. The moderated conversation to follow the talk will focus on how we can use story telling as a means to highlight, validate, and concretize individual voices inside the construct of community and history.
September 23, 2 – 4 pm - From Rescue to Reintegration: Meeting the Needs of Human Trafficking Survivors, by Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, PhD
In Brazil, there are more than 7 million domestic workers, as it is home to 20% of all domestic workers in the world. Sweeping domestic labor reforms passed recently have been impressive, yet there are potentially thousands of women who fall outside the scope of these reforms because they are exploited in a contemporary form of slavery as "adopted daughters” in privileged families. Professor Hordge-Freeman will discuss how the notion of “family” is used to perpetuate exploitation and she examines the unique affective and emotional manipulation involved in modern slavery in Brazil. Connecting her research on modern slavery in Brazil to Florida, she will discuss how to improve collaborative relationships between researchers and human trafficking survivors. She believes that researchers should collaborate with survivors as experts, rather than as mere subjects. Moreover, she will discuss how trafficking survivors’ emotional experiences in their families may impact their successful reintegration into society. Drawing on the parallels between human trafficking in Brazil and the U.S., she will identify the challenges that trafficking survivors face and propose strategies to facilitate their timely and long-term recovery.