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Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies takes on education

October 30, 2015

Templeton Campus Center

Lewis & Clark College’s 12th Annual Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies, running from Wednesday, November 11 to Friday, November 13, will delve into a perennial-yet-timely topic: race and opportunity in the educational system.

Titled “Schooled: Race and Ethnicity in Education,” and hosted by Lewis & Clark’s interdisciplinary Ethnic Studies program, the symposium is free and open to the public. 

The event provides the Lewis & Clark community, and the broader Portland community, an opportunity to hear insightful keynote presentations, participate in topical panel discussions, hear about original research from current Pioneers, and attend the “Race Monologues.”

“We’ve been repeatedly reminded that there’s a lot for us to explore in thinking about race and ethnicity in education,” said Professor Kimberly Brodkin, the faculty director of the symposium. “Our goal is to provide a foundation for people to understand some of these issues, and we hope our audience leaves with a framework and context for understanding ongoing debates or emerging questions, whether on our campus, in Portland, or elsewhere in the world.”

Seeking answers to questions such as, “How does race intersect with one’s access to schools and learning?” and “What are the goals of modern education?” attendees will discuss topics like education and the carceral state, the politics of language instruction, and student activism as a tool for transforming education.

The symposium will also showcase student research from numerous academic departments and majors. Speaking alongside alumni, scholars from other institutions, and community leaders, current students from a range of backgrounds will present their original research on issues such as school desegregation in Portland, indigenous activism in Chile to transform school curriculum, and the role of teachers and education in American Indian policy.

According to Hannah Swernoff, one of three student co-chairs of the symposium, these presentations are an exciting example of student involvement and of Lewis & Clark’s commitment to providing learning experiences outside the classroom: “I am blown away by the high-level academic opportunities available for Lewis & Clark students.”

These events will be tied together by two keynote addresses, which will explore some of the most contentious issues in education today. The first will be centered around affirmative action in college admissions, a question which the U.S. Supreme Court will be revisiting this year; and the second will look at controversies over pedagogy and curriculum that intersect with issues of race and ethnicity.

Notable speakers include Randall L. Kennedy, a distinguished legal scholar at Harvard Law School and author of numerous books on race and the law; Linda Chavez, the chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, the nation’s only conservative think tank that focuses on issues of race and ethnicity; and Nolan Cabrera, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Education and activist, who was involved with the Mexican American Studies program controversy in the Tucson school district.

The symposium will culminate with the “Race Monologues,” an annual event where students present original prose and poetry that examine their own experiences with–and explorations of–race and ethnicity. Alumni and community members frequently return to campus for the monologues, and many students and staff see it as the most important school-sponsored event of the year.

For a full schedule of events, visit the Ray Warren Symposium website

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