There’s a lot going on at America’s universities these days, and I’m not talking about academics (see here). Amid a series of socially introspective college conferences across the country, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recently hosted a two-day “Hate/Bias Response Symposium.”
The topics? Well, according to Campus Reform, here were a few of the sessions, followed by their descriptions:
Fat is a Social Justices Issue, Too
Despite the fact that fatphobia in the United States has always been intimately connected to other systems of oppression like sexism, racism, and classism, those of us who are otherwise engaged in social justice work so often exclude it from our research and our activism. We fail to acknowledge that fat is a social justice issue, too. In this presentation, I begin by providing a brief history of the ways fat has been pathologized and medicalized in the United States. I will then discuss some of the ways fat is connected with gender, race, and class in particular and offer some strategies for how we can move forward by engaging in fat activism.
Got Solidarity? Challenging Straight White College Men to Advocate for Social Justice
This presentation introduces my book about how 92 straight white college men around the country experience campus and community diversity issues. I discuss their upbringing in families and schools, their perspectives on privilege and oppression, and their attempts to challenge oppression. Written especially for straight white male college students and educators, the book underscores the need for whites to raise critical consciousness, activate empathy, and build solidarity with members of minoritized groups. Given our current American predicament, the book makes a timely contribution to our understanding of masculinity and how white disengagements hinders progress toward a just society.
Navigating Masculinity through Trans Identity
This workshop discusses the regulation of gender, specifically expectations regarding masculinity, through a narrative of transmasculine identity. This narrative will include examples of gender bias and how this bias evolves over the course of transitioning from female to male. The regulation of masculinity will be explored via group activity along with potential consequences when healthy masculinity is not reinforced. Finally, these consequences will be complemented with data from statewide and national trends related to mental health, class, and violence. Possible outcomes include: increased understanding of gender bias and the acquirement of tools to promote healthy masculinity.
The event was held December 3rd and 4th, courtesy of the school’s Research & Resource Center for Campus Climate, We Are Many United-Against Hate, and the UWL Hate Response Team.
The shindig’s official website spelled out its target audience:
The primary audience for this symposium is teams or individuals working directly on hate/bias education, prevention, response, and healing within a higher education setting, which typically includes:
Chief Diversity Officers
Affirmative Action Directors
Campus Climate Coordinators
Residence Life stakeholders
Violence Prevention Specialists
The extravaganza was set to benefit those who understand the work to be done’s bigger than just “social justice-centered K-12 educators,” among others.
And, from the looks of the site, the term “Hate” — which used to denote a negative, anger-driven emotion yet these days seems to be regularly used to mean “disagreement” — was more than liberally employed.
If you’re upset that you missed out, have no fear — something similar’s coming to a campus near you.
Real near you. And real soon.
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