Co-hosted by La Crosse Reads and the City of La Crosse Human Rights Commission, this Community Conversation will involve local activists, experts, historians and citizens in a conversation about the relevance of Gaines' novel to 21st-century La Crosse. (Sponsored by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.)
The UW-L English Department's last colloquium presentation of the Fall 2016 Semester is from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Friday Dec 9. Dr. Kimberly DeFazio will present "'The World without Us': Melancholia, Posthumanism and the Erasure of Class":
Whether depicted as hurricanes, species extinction, factory farming, economic crisis, terrorism, or extra-terrestrial invasion – the catastrophic event now figures prominently in a wide range of culture and cultural theory. In her paper, English Department faculty member Dr. Kimberly DeFazio addresses the way posthumanist theory in particular has come to treat catastrophes as events beyond reason, as signs of the fundamental crisis of human rationality and the danger of conceptual knowledge. To develop her analysis, she focuses on Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia and Percy Shelley’s poem “The Triumph of Life” and how they are interpreted by such posthumanist writers as Alain Badiou, Steven Shaviro and Paul de Man, for whom envisioning what Eugene Thacker calls “the world-without-us” (In the Dust of this Planet) is the basis of a new planetary ethics. While such readings aim to challenge instrumentalism and to highlight the need for new ecological thinking in a global world, the cultural turn toward posthumanism, the paper proposes, not only makes it impossible to understand the material causes of disasters, it also erases the social structures of daily life that privilege the lives of the few over the lives of the many.
Drs. Carlton Clark and Lei Zhang will present “Grass Mud Horse: Luhmannian Systems Theory and Internet Censorship in China” from 2:30-3:30, Friday Nov. 18 in Wimberly 112. Chinese President Xi Jinping has intensified state media censorship and public relations campaigns. Drawing on social systems theory as articulated by Niklas Luhmann and others, they will argue that these enhanced information-control efforts reflect the increasing systemic complexity of Chinese journalism, which is part of a global journalism system. They classify global journalism as a function system within global society on the same level as law, politics, the economy, science, education, medicine religion, and art. This theoretical move takes the focus away from human and organizational actors and puts it on the mechanisms by which global journalism resists political control and achieves its own system autonomy.
KEYNOTE PRESENTATION 11 a.m.-12:25 p.m. | FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION FOLLOWED BY Q&A
American history must be retold and reconfigured as a discipline at the K-12 level. Too many high school students grow up without knowing the real history of activist Helen Keller, the atrocities attributed to “hero” Christopher Columbus, and the horrific fall-out of the My Lai massacre. The premise of James Loewen’s American Book Award-winning work, Lies My Teacher Told Me, argues that we ignore such monumental events in American history at our collective peril.
WORKSHOP FOR EDUCATORS 2:15-3:40 p.m. | FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
James Loewen will facilitate an interactive workshop targeted for current and future educators that introduces pedagogical principles based on Loewen’s work on curriculum reform. Realizing that all of us have been, are, and will be educated by current and future educators, everyone is encouraged to attend and participate.
"SUNDOWN TOWNS" 5:30-8:30 p.m. | FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC La Crosse City Hall, Common Council Chambers 400 LA CROSSE STREET | FIRST FLOOR
Sundown towns were a form of segregation, in which a city in the U.S. was purposely all-white, excluding people of other races. James Loewen, author of Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, will present his ongoing research and perspective on sundown towns in the United States and, specifically, in the Midwest. He will focus his attention and discussion on recent research conducted at UWL that indicates La Crosse should be included in the category of sundown towns, and will invite audience members — particularly those in positions of power in our community — to consider ways in which La Crosse can acknowledge and then work to change this crucial aspect of its history and character.
QUESTIONS? CONTACT THOMAS HARRIS AT 608.780.7153 OR THARRIS@UWLAX.EDU
UW-L English Department's William J. Hyde and Yvonne Hyde Colloquium Series 2016-2017
TEACHING “A LESSON”: Integrating the 2017 Big Read Into Your Class An English Department Workshop
Instructors interested in incorporating this year’s La Crosse Reads selection into their Spring class (or in learning more about the Read) should plan to attend this informal workshop. Copies of the book will be available in limited supply.