Theme Year Events 2020-21

DEI mark"Pursuing Racial Justice at the University of Iowa" is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences "theme year" initiative for 2020-21. Through cross-disciplinary lenses, CLAS faculty, students, and staff—often in collaboration with other UI colleges and units, and outside experts—are grappling with critical questions about race and justice. We invite the community to consider how the UI's history as a predominantly white institution has shaped the university and CLAS; the knowledge we produce and convey to students; the interactions among our community members; and the relationship of the university to Iowa City and the state of Iowa.

These events focus primarily on race, but will be intersectional in their explorations. The goal of each event is to invite members of the CLAS community to engage with the issues, reflect upon what they have learned, and consider personal and institutional actions we might take in response.

See completed Theme Year events and videos

April: Media Representations and Race

April 15

7:00-8:30 pm

The Black Social Media Dilemma: The Paradoxes of Black Digital Life

Dr. S. Craig Watkins, Ernest Sharpe Centennial Professor, Moody College of Communication at University of Texas at Austin delivers the 2021 M. Holly McGranahan Lecture for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  

The pace of change in the world of media and technology is truly unprecedented. Nowhere has that change been more evident than in the adoption and deployment of technology by African Americans.From the routine and inventive adoption of social media to the savvy use of digital platforms to challenge systemic racism, Black digital life is growing increasingly more complex. In this talk, Dr. Watkins explores some of the complications of Black digital life, that is, the tensions associated with living in a world that is "open and connected." 

April 20

5:00-6:30 pm

Iowa and Hollywood’s “Heartland”—The Imagined Publics and Politics of “Flyover” Country

A lecture by Professor Victoria Johnson of UC-Irvine, author of the books Heartland TV: Prime Time Television and the Struggle for U.S. Identity and the brand-new Sports TV.

Professor Al Martin of the Departments of Communication Studies and African American Studies will serve as a respondent to Professor Johnson's talk.

Contact: David Ryfe, Professor and Director, Journalism and Mass Communication