Campus-wide conversation April 14 addresses the issue of race and Fairfield University’s intellectual and social mission.
Race... is subject to investigation in all disciplines and all schools... and critiquing and confronting racism is central to Fairfield University’s mission.
— Maggie Labinski, PhD, assistant professor of philosophy
At a time when race and racism are subjects of national debate, and public expressions of racist hostility have become prominent in the national conversation, Fairfield University faculty members are joining together to facilitate a campus-wide conversation on the issue of race and the University’s intellectual and social mission. The symposium, titled Race and Mission: Critical Encounters, will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University’s Barone Campus Center Dogwood Room, and is free and open to the public.
Through a series of thought-provoking panel presentations, question and answer segments, and a keynote address by associate professor of philosophy and Peace and Justice Studies program director Kris Sealey, PhD, the symposium will explore race as a critical category across all of the University’s schools and demonstrate that the historical and social analysis, as well as the critique of racism, are an inherent part of the University’s mission. Undergraduate students will serve as moderators for the event and will take part in an afternoon panel on community service.
“We are encouraging symposium participants to discuss any of the ways that questions of race and University mission intersect with their scholarship, teaching, or service,” explained Maggie Labinski, PhD, assistant professor of philosophy and symposium coordinator. “But we think that a unifying principle is that race as a category is subject to investigation in all disciplines and all schools at the University, and that critiquing and confronting racism is central to Fairfield University’s mission.”
In her keynote address, “Building Coalitions Through World-Travel and Becoming-Other,” Dr. Sealey will discuss the need for building coalitions against various forms of oppression by referencing the work of Latina feminist philosopher Maria Lugones and critical race theorist and philosopher George Yancy. Her speech will explore what it means to travel into the world of another and engage with their experience under oppressive dominant structures.
Other presenting Fairfield faculty members represent a wide breadth of University disciplines: Mike Andreychik, PhD, associate professor of psychology; Jocelyn Boryczka, PhD, associate professor of politics; Rachelle Brunn-Bevel, PhD, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology; Anita Fernandez, PhD, associate professor of biology; Johanna Garvey, PhD, associate professor of English; Erica Hartwell, PhD, assistant professor for marriage and family therapy; Anna Lawrence, PhD, associate professor of history; Katherine Nantz, PhD, professor of economics; Martin Nguyen, PhD, assistant professor of religious studies; Audra Nuru, PhD, assistant professor of communication; and Vincent Rosivach, PhD, professor of classical studies.
“We hope many themes and lessons will emerge from discussion at the symposium,” said. Robert Epstein, PhD, associate professor of English, “but we expect there to be a central message that the critique of race and racism is a central part of the intellectual project, and that the social and ethical mission of Fairfield University dictates that neither individual scholars, nor the University as a whole, can remain neutral when confronted by pervasive and expanding racism in the society around us.”
Faculty, community members, students, and alumni interested in attending the symposium are asked to register by Friday, April 6, at fairfield.edu/raceandmission. While full participation is encouraged, attendees are free to participate in whichever sessions their schedules allow.
Race and Mission: Critical Encounters is co-sponsored by The Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Mission and Identity, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Faith and Public Life, the Faculty Welfare Committee/AAUP, the Departments of English and Philosophy, and the Black Studies, WGSS, Peace and Justice Studies, and Catholic Studies programs.