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Two great lectures today

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 9:50am

Two lectures to attend today


            Professors and professionals alike visit the UGA campus from all over the world, giving our academic community an opportunity to listen in and learn about research topics that we might not be exposed to otherwise. Two lectures in particular today may give you an opportunity to delve into learning more about unique research topics.

            First up is a lecture by Charles Mills, a Northwestern University professor, visiting as part of the Kleiner Colloquium Series, partially funded by the Wilson Center for Humanities and Arts.  Mills works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as it centers on class, gender and race.  The event posting describes his interests further:

He received his doctoral degree at the University of Toronto, and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and five books. His first book, "The Racial Contract" (Cornell University, 1997), won a Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in North America. It has been adopted widely in courses across the United States, not just in philosophy, but also political science, sociology, anthropology, African-American studies and race relations. His second book, "Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race" (Cornell University, 1998), was a finalist for the award for the most important North American work in social philosophy of that year. His fourth book, "Contract and Domination" (Polity Press, 2007), is co-authored with Carole Pateman, who wrote "The Sexual Contract" (Stanford University Press, 1988), and it seeks to bring the two “contracts” together. His most recent book is a collection of his Caribbean essays, "Radical Theory, Caribbean Reality: Race, Class and Social Domination" (University of the West Indies Press, 2010).

Interested in political theory, social justice or philosophy? Check it out at Peabody Hall, room 115 at 3:30 p.m. today.  Read more about the event here.

Another worthy lecture takes place concurrently in room 200C of the geography building today. Visiting professor Mary Thomas, from The Ohio State University, will give a lecture entitled, “This Place Saved My Life: The Myth of the Savior Prison and Why It Is Appealing to Incarcerated Girls.” The description previews a lecture with great cultural implications regarding our criminal justice system for juveniles:  

The mission statement of Ohio’s Department of Youth Services promises “a safer Ohio through positive change.” Perhaps surprisingly, many girls committed by the state to its only juvenile detention facility for female adolescent felony offenders also surmise a positive change in their lives during incarceration.

This presentation explores girls’ narratives of personal redemption and change while serving time. The predominant message that girls face while detained is that their future success depends on new attitudes, better choices and faith in God beyond their personal circumstances. Thomas' research shows that girls are overwhelmingly taking on the fantasies that life on the "outs" will be greatly changed through the “responsibility” they are taught in detainment by Christian volunteers and facility staff. Yet, Thomas asks, how do facility and detainee narratives rely on the effacement of the profound challenges in girls’ lives, including abusive and neglectful families, urban decay and poverty, and mental illness? Thomas considers what assumptions about youth agency are embedded in these hopes for positive change, and she argues that youth-serving institutions and programs provide disturbingly inadequate tools for youth reentry. The “place” cannot save the life, and in fact its insularity provides a disturbing guise for masking the compounded challenges girls face on the outs.

Read more about the lecturer and the event here. But suffice it to say that this will be a lecture that can give any researcher with an interest in our criminal justice system the chance to learn about a little-known facet of how well (or not well) our system of rehabilitation is fairing in regard to the youth population.

Visiting lecturers on campus speaking on diverse and important research topics, coupled with our already great faculty, is part of the university environment that helps foster new ideas, research, writing and art.  Take advantage of scheduled lectures any time you can. And don’t forget to peruse the UGA Calendar to find more worthwhile lectures to attend outside of class. 

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