Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity > Education > 2202 Global Justice Teach-In Recordings
The Society of Vincent DePaul Professors’ Global Justice Committee hosted the third annual Global Justice Teach-In on September 23rd, 2022. This year, the event was also part of St. Vincent de Paul Heritage Week.
The Global Justice Teach-In is an annual day-long event that provides an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to come together to discuss and reflect on social justice issues facing our society as the new school year begins. The aim is to call attention to current social justice issues, discuss potential solutions, and re-energize one another in our ongoing social justice work.
In 2022, presentations and panels highlighted a variety of topics including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the role of the university as a space for social change, and showcased the ongoing work of several student and faculty initiatives. The plenary session, “Task Force to Address the Vincentians’ Relationship with Slavery” provided an update to the DePaul community on its work from the past year, building upon the 2021 panel at the Teach-In, “Addressing the Painful History of Slave Ownership within the Congregation of the Mission.”
Ritty Lukose in her article, Decolonizing Feminism in the #MeToo Era (2018) pushes back against the idea that the university is disengaged from the real world and its struggles for justice. She argues that there is complex relationship between feminism as a knowledge project and feminism as a political project. She powerfully claims that “Feminism in the university is in and of this world...” (p. 34, 2018). Drawing on Lukose’s claim, we, a group of faculty in WGS, will hold a roundtable that reflects on the question – how one can envision the academy as a radical space for social change amidst the historical and ongoing inequities derived from structural and systemic forces of capitalism, imperialism, heteropatriarchy, colonialism and settler colonialism, islamophobia, racism and ableism. Moreover, what is the role and indeed responsibility of the university in the current moment where many of these injustices have been further exposed and exacerbated in the midst of a global pandemic/public health crisis. In our discussion we would like to challenge binary distinctions between the university/academy and community, theory, and practice, personal and political, and global and local in order to explore the complex and reciprocal relationship between feminist movements and feminist scholarship. Our goal is to examine feminist pedagogy and scholarship in broad and holistic ways and also leaning on this scholarship ask what places like DePaul allows us to imagine, challenge and build together for a more equitable and just world, now and for the future.
In the shadow of Chicago's Soldier Field, hidden in dense foliage and nestled in a memorial landscape dedicated to fallen police officers and firefighters, is the Balbo Monument. The oldest outdoor artifact in Chicago- an almost 2,000-year-old column from the Roman port of Ostia- is also one of the most complicated. Both column and pedestal were a gift from Mussolini, dedicated on Chicago's Italian Day in 1934 at the Century of Progress International Exposition. In the aftermath of the riots at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, people across the country scrutinized Confederate and other problematic markers, which were ripe for appropriation by nationalist movements. In June 2020, in the wake of protests and civil unrest related to the murder of George Floyd, demand for the Balbo Monument's removal increased. The Chicago Monuments Project recently evaluated the Monument's future and recommended its removal and placement in storage. Why is there no sign or marker apart from the faded original inscription, unreadable behind a chain-link fence? In classes, Kersel has students (including Tessman) visit the Monument as part of a discussion on landscapes, memorialization, monuments, and public commemoration. Students create "labels" that contextualize the column in its current time and space. The robust engagement with the Balbo Monument, its problematic associations, and its current configuration offers an excellent pedagogical tool to reflec on an array of issues, beyonf the obious choices of removing, repatriating, or retaining.
There is perhaps no greater example of social injustice than an entire society being invaded militarily by a neighboring society that wants to conquer and extinguish its political independence. It is social injustice at its rawest and most violent. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, an independent country of 44 million people, and its stated goal of gaining control over it and extinguishing its independence, have awakened us to the sad, tragic, and continuing relevance of war to the lives of entire societies and millions of human beings around the globe. The war also poses serious ethical and moral dilemmas regarding how nations not directly involved in the conflict should respond to it. We want to invite our students to explore how, within the context of the Christian faith, there are different highly developed traditions informing possible responses. At one end of the spectrum there is a strong tradition of pacifism counseling non-violence and peaceful resistance in response to war. At another end of the spectrum is the "just war tradition" (properly translated as the "justified war tradition") allowing for self-defense against aggression and permitting military assistance to victims of aggression. The tensions between these two ancient moral and philosophical traditions are rich and full of relevance for our current policy debates and moral quandaries about how the United States as a country, the Church, and individual Christians might respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This discussion is an invitation to our students to think about, and wrestle with, a vital issue in contemporary world politics involving the lives, freedoms, and well-being of millions of our fellow human beings in Ukraine and Russia. The subject matter involves profound questions of religious faith, morality, justice, freedom, right action, and public policy.
This presentation will be an opportunity to learn about the world’s reliance on migrant work. Drawing upon case studies based on the lecturer's research, advocacy and outreach experience in the US and Southeast Asia, students will learn about the industries that greatly rely on migrant workers and the economic effects of migrant labor. The lecturer will also delve into the impact of Covid-19 on receiving countries and sending countries, and how it has affected migrant worker welfare.
This film project was part of a collaboration between Xavier University, Universidad Iberoamericana, Bellarmine Chapel, and The Kino Border Initiative, a non-profit focused on providing assistance to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico Border. In this presentation, I will share a bit about what lead to the collaboration, the process of creating this short film and how I came to produce it. This project was funded by the Xavier University Women of Excellence Grant. "God Willing" is an official selection of the 2022 Chicago CineYouth Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary and winner of Best Film for Social Change at the DePaul Premiere Film Festival.
Domestic workers are those who care for our children and elderly in our homes, as well as those who provide home cleaning services. Domestic workers are also among the most vulnerable labor groups in the U.S. They endure long hours, low pay, and health and safety issues in the home, including violence and sexual assault. But they have limited protections, as they are excluded from most existing federal laws. Only recently have domestic workers begun to organize around the country to win basic workplace protections. In recent years, domestic workers and organizers affiliated with the Arise Chicago Worker Center (ACWC) have won major victories citywide, including paid sick days and a written contract. But that is just the beginning of the struggle, which is currently focused on the right to paid vacation, as well as health benefits and retirement. In spring of 2022, ACWC partnered with the Community Writing Project (CWP) to convene a series of writing workshop sessions so that domestic workers could write, share, and discuss stories about their work experiences, and in particular their fears and vulnerabilities as they approach retirement. In this workshop, ACWC participants, accompanied by the CWP coordinator, share stories they have written, and discuss their experiences using small group writing to deepen their understandings, connections, and commitment to the fight for a universal pension. Participants will learn about how to incorporate small group writing workshops into the movements for social justice.
Late scholar Cedric Robinson coined the term Racial Capitalism to describe the complex phenomena of the existence of structural inequality, the modern white supremacist state, and intersectional oppression. Dr. Jordan Horwath and cultural worker and scholar Joshua Briond will expound on the definition of Racial Capitalism (which has its origins in feudal Europe) and dive into how it pervades every aspect of our modern lives through six major areas that encapsulate how Racial Capitalism is purposefully upheld to the benefit of a few at the expense of most. These six areas are:
1.) Colonialism and Neo-Colonialism, which describes the impact and nefarious exploitation through colonization
2.) Imperialism and the Military-Industrial complex (use of militarized force to extract resources and place ‘puppet’ leaders friendly to capital)
3.) The carceral state and the Prison-Industrial complex (racialized incarceration and forced free labor)
4.) Racism (how a non-biological social construct reinforces a white supremacist social order)
5.) Class Warfare (Labor exploitation, massive wealth accumulation, the ‘expensiveness of poverty’)
6.) Sexism and Hetero-sexism (Gender roles create a ‘gendered order’ that perpetuates oppressive hierarchies).
While each of these areas is complex, it is important to understand how they are intertwined to create the intersectionally oppressive modern world in order to take steps to dismantle an inherently racist, classist, sexist, and oppressive racial capitalist social order to move towards human liberation.
Close to 2.1 million people are incarcerated in the US., the highest in the world. Black Americans are incarcerated a rate 5 times that of White Americans. The presentation reports on DePaul's effort to disrupt this unjust system through development of the Institute for Restorative Educational Engagement (IREE). Presenters will outline the role of IREE in supporting incarcerated and re-entering college students at DePaul. IREE will include three pillars of support for this growing segment of the university’s student body. These include expanding faculty teaching courses onsite at Stateville Correctional Center and Cook County Jail through DePaul’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program; (2) advancing student support services for both incarcerated and re-entering students across DePaul academic and non-academic student support units; and by (3) providing a hub for DePaul faculty and student scholars who seek to engage in applied research and scholarship and policymaking on the connections between education and incarceration. The Institute will eventually promote voter education to justice-involved individuals and their communities and assist in implementation of the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act (PA 101-0441), written by alumni of DePaul’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, and signed by the governor in 2019.
At the Fall 2021 SVdPP Global Social Justice Teach In, faculty discussed the decision to remove the name of Bishop Joseph Rosati, CM, from a room in Richardson Library. Bishop Rosati was one of the Nineteenth Century Vincentians who bought and sold salves in Missouri. DePaul faculty, staff and students subsequently came together to constitute a Task Force to address the Vincentians' relationship with slavery. Over the past year, members of the Task Force have engaged in reflection about slavery and its legacy and done further archival research to understand how these Vincentian leaders engaged in the trafficking of enslaved people. This committee will update the University community on the work of the past year.