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Fall Symposium Day Oct. 12, 2022

Symposium Days include invited speakers, alumni, advising sessions and opportunities to practice the liberal arts and be involved with the community. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend sessions throughout the day. Some sessions also are open to the public.

This year's fall Symposium Day theme is Civil Discourse.

The theme is a follow-up to this year's Augie Reads selection, "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption," an attorney's memoir of his career defending disadvantaged clients. 

The day's plenary session at 10:30 a.m. will feature two representatives of PEN America, an organization that works protect free expression. Its mission is to "unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible."


(Detailed descriptions follow)

Session I: 9:15 a.m. concurrent sessions

• Civil Discourse and Mental Health Issues
• The Dilemma of Banned Books
• Discourse: Definitions, Approaches, and Goal
• Question. Persuade. Refer

Session II: 10:30 a.m. concurrent sessions

• PEN America: Defending Free Expression for 100 Years
• Breaking the Ice: Leadership and Peer Communication
• Campus Health Program Focus Groups
• Listening Beneath the Words

Session III: 11:45 a.m. concurrent sessions

• Augie Reads featured presentation: Justice that Restores: How Christians are Rethinking Retribution
• Exploring Bangla/Deshi Masculinities
• Should Professors Debate Polemicists? YouTube Debate as Public Scholarship
• PEN America open table

Session IV: 1 p.m. concurrent sessions

• Structured Academic Controversy: An Approach to Reaching Consensus
• Creating Space for Discourse through Equitable Access to Food|
• “I Am Not Your N****r”: Navigating the N-word in Academic Spaces
• The Ethics of Storytelling: Rethinking Art, Appropriation, and Accountability
• Augie Reads discussion

Session V: 2:15 p.m.

•  "Powerlands" documentary screening (open to the public)

Haley DeGreve

Session I: 9:15 a.m.

Civil Discourse and Mental Health Issues

Gävle rooms, Gerber Center

Presenter: Haley DeGreve ‘20. A communications specialist for John Deere, DeGreve is a co-founder of The Gray Matters Collective, a mental health support and suicide awareness organization.

Description: As mental health is recognized as an issue as essential as physical health, conversation around it should happen as we talk about weather and daily routines to empower people to talk and receive the help they need in the community that supports each other. However, civil discourse around mental health issues is still not normalized because of stigma. The presenter will discuss her journey to defy the stigma and to make differences one person at a time.

The Dilemma of Banned Books: Questioning the Ethics of Censoring Literature in Schools and How It Disrupts the Discourse Within

Old Main 132

Presenters: Kyle King, political science and English; and Chloe Baxter, political science, and multimedia journalism and mass communications

Description: Literature, specifically in the form of novels, has been a vital organ of the public education system in the U.S. Not only does reading such works transform us into better close readers and strengthen our vocabulary, but the texts at hand can be very essential to analyze specific contexts or issues that might have existed either throughout history or even in the present day.

In today’s country, the issue of banning certain books from school curricula has become as prevalent as ever, where mostly Southern Republican officials are calling for lists of books to be restricted from teaching due to controversies in their language, violence and sexuality. This presentation aims to reject such actions of banning and suppression on ethical political grounds while emphasizing the immense educational value controversial texts have in facilitating students’ developments during adolescence.

Discourse: Definitions, Approaches, and Goals

Hanson Hall 102

Presenter: Margaret Kunde, associate professor of communication studies

Description: What does it mean to engage in civil discourse? Deliberative democracy? Dialogue? Discussion? How do facts and values fit in? Understanding the approaches, definitions, and context of discourse can help answer these questions. This session will explore how commonality can be found in discursive goals and process, even if not in viewpoint.

Question. Persuade. Refer.

Lindberg 201

Presenters: Farrah Roberts, director of student well-being and resiliency; Daisy Moran, assistant director, Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity; and Tia Steele, assistant director of student life

Description: QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying "Yes" to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling or neighbor.

Session II: 10:30 a.m.

Plenary session: PEN America: Defending Free Expression for 100 Years

Gävle rooms, Gerber Center

For 100 years, literary and human rights nonprofit PEN America has brought a unique lens to free expression advocacy, defending the free exchange of ideas, celebrating the power of the written word and standing against disinformation and hate.

This session will introduce students to the cardinal underpinnings of our free expression philosophy and its importance in our organization’s practical work supporting writers, artists, activists, journalists, and allies around the world. We will take a look at both historical and contemporary thought leaders who add new and unique framings to conversations around free expression as not only an American tradition, but an international human right that is core to democracy and social justice. 

Nicholas Perez and Peris Tushabe

Nicholas Perez and Peris Tushabe

Presenters: Nicholas Perez is the program manager of free expression and education at PEN America. In this role, he advances PEN America’s efforts to catalyze a more informed, civic culture through free expression education for the rising generation and the general public, and supports advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. 

Peris Tushabe is the free expression and education program assistant at PEN America, supporting PEN America’s advocacy for free expression in educational institutions as well as the Free Speech Advocacy Institute. She is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, with a B.A. in political science.

Breaking the Ice: Leadership and Peer Communication

Old Main 303

Presenters: Emmeline Kenealy, psychology and communication studies; and Chloe Baxter, political science, and multimedia journalism and mass communications

Description: There are many different leadership positions that students can become involved in on campus. These positions provide students with the opportunity to become competent communicators, even when they may disagree with those they are working with. From navigating effective tutoring sessions with peers who have different viewpoints, to mending complicated roommate conflicts and concerns as a CA, it is clear that effective communication is a skill that student leaders must master.

Hear from two student leaders on campus about the importance of keeping an open mind, finding common ground and being respectful of other perspectives, especially when encountering difficult situations.

Campus Health Program Focus Groups

Lindberg rooms 201–220

Students from Dr. Lena Hann's PUBH 350: Health Behavior and Promotion course will host focus groups to gather feedback about proposed campus health programs at Augustana. These focus groups are Augustana IRB-approved. Participants will choose one of six topics and provide input on the relevance and feasibility of proposed health programs at Augie. Topics and student hosts include: 

Campus physical accessibility: Zaina Rumbolz, Carli Wilson, AJ Joyner, Maddie Feltner (Lindberg 201)

Nutrition and dietary restrictions: Blen Buticho, Cipara Tsegaye, Arslaan Naseer (Lindberg 202)

Sexual violence, harassment and stalking: Audrey Marx, RaMaya Johnson, Dannie Burggraaff (Lindberg 203)

Dorm ventilation needs: Caitlyn Hanulikova, Elizabeth Considine, Nadia Ranieri, Alyssa Macias (Lindberg 204)

Menstrual health: Addy Larson, Makaia Decker, Diego Andon (Lindberg 205)

Sexual health education: Alexis Osei-Kofi, Karsyn Bennett, Cecilia Ortega, EmilyJenkins (Lindberg 220)

Listening Beneath the Words

Brunner Theatre Center, Black Box

Presenter: Deborah Dakin, assistant professor of music

There is a great deal of "talking at" and "talking to" going on these days. Perhaps one skill most needed for civil discussion is the ability to listen with openness and patience. Come practice these skills as we explore what wordless music and poetry can teach us in learning how to listen for and  hear what poet Naomi Shihab Nye refers to as the "words beneath the words."

Session III: 11:45 a.m.

Augie Reads featured presentation: Justice that Restores: How Christians are Rethinking Retribution

Gävle rooms, Gerber Center

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Presenter: Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is the author of "Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores," which won a 2018 Book of the Year Award for InterVarsity Press and was named Outreach Magazine’s 2019 Social Issues Resource of the Year. His latest book, "Subversive Witness: Scripture’s Call to Leverage Privilege," won Englewood Review of Books 2021 book of the year award.

Gilliard  serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary in its School of Restorative Arts and serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association. In 2015, the Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.” Earlier this year, he  received North Park Theological Seminary’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Description: Drawing on his experiences teaching in prison through North Park Theological Seminary's School of Restorative Arts, Rev. Gilliard will speak  about advocating for criminal justice reform, replacing models of retribution with restoration. In this work, he joins Bryan Stevenson, author of the Augie Reads selection, "Just Mercy."

Gilliard and one of his formerly incarcerated students from the School of Restorative Arts will lift up stories of real healing and restoration that is possible. 

From “Ashol Purush” (real man) to “Shofol Purush” (successful man): Exploring Bangla/Deshi Masculinities

Olin Auditorium

Presenter: Mashrur Hossain is a professor of English at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh and a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence  at Purdue University Northwest, Indiana University Northwest, and Ivy Tech-Lake County, U.S.

Description: No matter how much one tries to ground masculinity on some fixed prescriptions, it is never, nowhere, the same. It to negotiate between the 4 C’s (competitiveness, courage, control, and care) and accommodate issues of class, ethnicity, race, nationality, age, demography, and migration: Masculinity has become ‘plural masculinities.’

This talk broaches this intersectionality to explore the perception and performance of Bangladeshi masculinities, or, precisely "deshi" (different from "desi") masculinities. Isolating four dimensions – lingo-nationalistic, political, religious, and sexual-gendered – that have conditioned "deshi" masculinities, I intend to trace the emergence or disavowal of different versions of masculinities in the post-independence Bangladesh (i.e. in the last 50 years).

I sample the representation of masculinities in Bangladeshi media to explore the ways in which Bangladeshi men come to terms with the egonomics (the act of subjectivization) and the economics (the consumerist concerns) of "deshi" masculinities – now, and here.

Should Professors Debate Polemicists? YouTube Debate as Public Scholarship

Hanson 304

Presenter: Khalil Andani, assistant professor of religion

Description: This is the inside story of how an Augustana religion professor went head-to-head against a sectarian polemicist in a intra-Muslim YouTube debate on Islamic theology which was viewed by thousands of people.

The YouTube / Twitter discourse about Islam and Christianity is dominated by polemics and apologetics. I will discuss why I agreed to a public debate against a famous Muslim polemicist and share challenges that I faced as a Muslim academic.

I will share the promises and pitfalls of my participation in the YouTube debate and invite attendees to ”re-perform” some of my decisions along the way. We will review clips from the debate and its aftermath. While publicly debating certainly made me a better teacher-scholar and showed academic expertise prevail over internet polemics, such engagements have their limits

PEN America open table

Brew by the Slough, Gerber Center

Presenters: PEN America

Description: Nicholas Perez and Peris Tushabe will chat with you about the work of PEN America as you head to lunch. Find out about their work and how you can work to promote free speech in your work and life.

Session IV: 1 p.m.

Structured Academic Controversy: An Approach to Reaching Consensus

Evald 212

Presenter: Mike Scarlett, associate professor of education

Description: This session will introduce participants to a research-based approach developed for use in secondary classrooms for deliberating on controversial issues. An alternative to debate, which often emphasizes winning, structured academic controversy (SAC) focuses on helping students develop consensus around difficult questions in a democracy. The presenter's experience with an international program to introduce this strategy in secondary schools in former Soviet republics and dictatorships in Latin America will be shared. (Limited seating)

A Seat at the Table: Creating Space for Discourse Through Equitable Access to Food

Hanson Hall 102

Presenter: Chris Strunk, associate professor of geography and food studies; and Laura Mahn, founder and executive director of NEST Café

Description: Before civil discourse can begin, we must actually be in the same room, the same space; a space that is either completely neutral or one in which each participant has equal ownership. People also need to begin from a place in which each participant has had the opportunity to be well rested, to concentrate, to not be distracted by worries regarding their basic needs. This session explores how NEST Café, a local pay-what-you-can community cafe, addresses this need. NEST Café's mission is to nourish bodies and community by providing delicious, sustainably sourced food to all who enter, regardless of their means.

“I Am Not Your N****r”: Navigating the N-word in Academic Spaces

Olin Auditorium (1-2:30 p.m.)

Presenters: Dr. Ashley Burge, assistant professor of English; Dr. Monica M. Smith, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion; Dr. Ray Harrison, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Caleb Perry, biology and pre-medicine major; Zion Thomas, English and psychology major            

Description: The racial epithet “n-gger” is ingrained in the American lexicon as a word that signifies virulent hate and violence directed toward Black Americans. The word has historically designated Black Americans as intellectually, socially, and culturally inferior to white Americans. Frederick Douglass illustrates this in Narrative through his white master who argues: “A n*gger should know nothing but to obey his master—to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best n*gger in the world [Asterisks added].”

We would think that this word would not be spoken in academic spaces in order to create a safe and inclusive learning environment. However, current events all over the nation reveal that this is not the case. Faculty members, the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and student scholars from African American literature (ENGL-275) and Black.Rage.Matters (FYI-102) will discuss the detrimental effects of white and non-black minorities using the N-Word while enhancing the cultural competency of the Augie community.

The Ethics of Storytelling: Rethinking Art, Appropriation and Accountability

Olin 109

Presenters: Nicholas Peres and Peris Tushabe, PEN America

Description: Literary and human rights organization, PEN America, believes that all writers and artists should experience the freedom to imagine and create vibrant and exploratory worlds without censorship. What happens though when a creator bases their work around a story from a community they do not belong to? Do creators have an intrinsic responsibility to consider accuracy, representation, and ownership when dealing with another’s art or history?

In this session, PEN America will invite students to think about the ethical and moral implications of storytelling, and where to draw the lines around creative expression, appropriation, and authenticity. We will discuss non-censorious approaches to stories and art we find inaccurate or distasteful, and consider innovative methods of counterspeech as ways to spread awareness and push for social accountability.

Augie Reads conversation: Reading 'Just Mercy' in Prison

Gävle rooms, Gerber Center

Presenters: Jason Mahn, professor of religion, and Brandon Martinez

Brandon Martinez was serving a multiple-decade sentence in the East Moline Correctional Center when he read "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stevenson alongside a dozen other incarcerated students and Dr. Jason Mahn. This session will allow participants to reconsider and review the book through incarcerated eyes.

Dr. Mahn will interview Mr. Martinez (virtually) about his experiences reading "Just Mercy," talking civilly with his incarcerated classmates about it, and navigating the (sometimes unjust) criminal justice system. Please come with your copy of the Augie Reads selection ready to engage with the unique perspective of this formerly incarcerated reader. (Sponsored by the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning)

Session V: 2:15-4:15 p.m.

(Advising group meetings may be held at this time.)

'Powerlands' documentary film

Hanson Hall 102

Presenters: Dr. Kiki Kosnick, assistant professor of French; Evelyn Mosqueda, communication studies and psychology major; Dr. Jane Simonsen, professor of history; Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez, professor of Spanish; and Kara West, psychology; Spanish and women, gender, and sexuality studies major

Description: In the 2022 documentary "Powerlands," queer Diné filmmaker Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso investigates the displacement of Indigenous people and the devastation of the environment caused by the same chemical companies that have exploited the land where she was born. The film centers Indigenous women’s resistance in Columbia, the Philippines, Mexico, and on the Standing Rock Reservation. After the 75-minute film, respondents will share brief remarks and facilitate open discussion.

Sponsored by: history, Latin American and Latinx studies, sociology and anthropology, theatre arts, women, gender, and sexuality studies, world languages, literatures and cultures, and the Jaeke Family Life Fund.