DePaul University Division of Student Affairs > Diversity & Culture > Cultural Programming > Emergent Speakers

Emergent Speakers

The Emergent Speakers Series features locally and nationally recognized speakers who specialize in key areas related to diversity and culture, contemporary understandings of identity and social justice issues. This series follows a traditional lecture style format followed by a question and answers session.


Hispanic/Latino in America:  Complexities of a Cosmic Identity
Tuesday, October, 6, 2015
Lincoln Park Student Center 316
Through postcolonial, transnational and dialectic understandings, educator Michael Benitez Jr. addresses the ways in which racialization and colorism have historically shaped and continue to inform identity politics, racism, and whiteness in Latin@ culture, and the significance of such understandings in contemporary America.

Bio: Michael Benitez Jr. a national social justice educator and activist-scholar known for his insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social issues, integrates hip hop pedagogy, academic inquiry, and personal experience to provide critical, multi-context, and multi-issue frameworks for empowerment and transformation in education. Benitez has served higher education in different capacities both in academic affairs and student affairs over the last decade and a half.

He often collaborates with leading scholars and activists in the field of anti-oppression and social justice education and visits with different communities and higher education institutions across the addressing issues around diversity and multiculturalism, knowledge representation and equity, and transformative pedagogy.

Benitez is co-editor of the anthology, Crash Course: Reflections on the Film “Crash” for Critical Dialogues About Race, Power and Privilege, a collection of essays by some of the country’s most prominent anti-racism writers, scholars and activists. He has also contributed to Being Latino On-Line Magazine (2009), the American Mosaic Online Database (2012), Culture Centers in Higher Education: Perspectives on Identity, Theory, and Practice (2010), and most recently, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity (2012)- a new documentary film that features powerful stories by educators and racial justice advocates that examine causes and consequences of systemic inequity and how racial inequity in the is embedded in our history, culture and identity.

He is currently Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.

Riding the Fourth Wave:  Race, Gender, and Black Feminism in Popular Culture
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Lincoln Park Student Center 314B
Scholar and author Zandria Robinson draws on black feminist work in popular culture, including Erykah Badu, Nicki Minaj and BET’s Being Mary Jane, tracing discourse from enslavement to the current digital moment, considering continuities and discord between generations and the diversity of contemporary black feminist work.

This Ain’t Chicago - Black Racial Attitudes in the Post-Soul South
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Lincoln Park Student Center 314B

Drawing on five years of research in Memphis, Tennessee with African American southerners of the post-civil rights generations, Zandria Robinson delineates how regional identity shapes black folks’ racial logics and attitudes in the modern South. This talk further explores how black racial attitudes shape and influence how black folks respond to and negotiate anti-black racism shaped by historical and place-specific processes.

Bio: Zandria F. Robinson is a native Memphian and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College. She earned the Bachelor of Arts in Literature and African American Studies and the Master of Arts in Sociology at the University of Memphis. She holds the PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University. Her research interests include urban and cultural sociology, black feminist theory, and popular culture. She has written encyclopedia entries, articles, and book chapters on the rise of southern hip-hop and crunk music, the Memphis hip-hop scene, filmmaker Tyler Perry, and black feminist themes in the work of black women popular culture artists. Robinson’s recent research, chronicled in her book, This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South, focuses on the intersections of race, class, gender, and region in African American identity. In addition to her scholarly research, Robinson founded BRAVE (Bridging Resources to Achieve Victories in Education), a mentoring program for women of color at the University of Memphis funded by a competitive three-year grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents. Robinson blogs about race, region, and popular culture at New South Negress and tweets about all manner of things @zfelice.