The Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility is bringing in it’s final speaker in their semester-long guest lecture series.
Rhonda Williams will speak to students today today at the Faculty House at 4:00 p.m. A reception will follow.
Williams is a professor of history and the director of the Case Western Reserve University Social Justice Institute.
William’s afternoon presentation is entitled “Expanding Classrooms: Pedagogy at the Social Justice Crossroads.” Williams talk will focus on her teaching methods.
Judy Rohrer, director of ICSR, first heard Williams speak at a critical ethnic studies conference in Chicago. William’s presentation ultimately inspired Rohrer to invite her come speak at WKU.
“It was mostly centered on a course that she developed and teaches called ‘City as Classroom’,” Rohrer said. “That course is taught off campus and it really required students to engage in social activism. I think she’s really going to be talking about her teaching and the way that she tries to bring community based learning and activism directly in as an integral part of the coursework that she has students do.”
Previous lecturers have spoken about prison and disability studies.
To Rohrer, the series is about giving students examples of people who are working as both researchers and advocates.
“A lot of times in talking to students I find that they think you can’t be both a scholar and an activist,” Rohrer said. “It is absolutely possible to be scholar-activist.”
The series has encouraged some students to minor in social justice, Rohrer said.
Bowling Green junior Kate McElroy is one of those students. McElroy works as a student marketing coordinator for ICSR.
“As I got more involved with social justice and some of the programs that we have here and some of the events that we do, it became clear to me that social justice fit in very well with anthropology,” she said. “So I decided to switch my minor to something like that.”
McElroy defines social justice as an attempt to fix social inequality.
“It’s a two part definition,” she said. “There has to be a recognition that social inequality exists and then the second part is that social inequality should not exist.”
Social justice is something that isn’t confined to one discipline.
“I think social justice can allow us to examine what is now subconscious and make it conscious and to see what needs to be changed and how we can go about doing that.”