(January 23, 2015)

Centenary's Forum to explore diversity and racial justice

SHREVEPORT, LA —The Forum, Centenary College's annual symposium hosted by the Philosophy Department, presents "Diversity and Racial Justice" with events on Monday, February 2, and Monday, February 9. All events are free and open to the public.

Dr. Kristie Dotson
Dr. Kristie Dotson

Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University Dr. Kristie Dotson, who specializes in epistemology, feminist philosophy, and critical philosophy of race, will give a presentation on Monday, February 2, at 7 p.m. in the Whited Room. Dotson has published a series of books, including Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silence, Concrete Flowers: Contemplating the Profession of Philosophy, and How is this Paper Philosophy?

"We were thinking about diversity and racial justice before the #Blacklivesmatter movement started," said Dr. Chris Ciocchetti, Associate Professor of Philosophy and coordinator of The Forum. "We wondered what philosophers could contribute to Centenary's on-going discussion about diversity. We decided to start a conversation. What would racial justice be like in our community? Dr. Dotson studies racial issues and feminist issues from a philosophical perspective. We thought her point of view would be a great way to start our conversation."

The panel will convene Monday, February 9, at 7 p.m. in the Whited Room, and will feature Centenary students and community members who will discuss Dotson's commentaries and hold a Q&A session with the audience following the discussion. Student panelists include Ninjia Miles '15, sociology major; and Joanna Warren '16, philosophy and political science major. The community representatives are attorney Trina Chu and Pastor Roosevelt Seaberry.

The Forum is an opportunity for students to hear from experts on divisive topics and to draw their own conclusions and express their opinions in a civil discussion. Previous years' Forums have covered topics such as religion in public schools, consumer responsibility, stem cell research, and art censorship.

"Each year, we pick a topic and invite an expert to present his or her ideas," said Ciocchetti. "The Forum provides a unique opportunity because the expert doesn't have the final word. Students and citizens, often people who wouldn't meet otherwise, have an opportunity to respond. They can say what they learned, what they disagreed with, and they can propose actions we should take. We can discuss what these ideas mean for our community, especially because the Shreveport Times publishes columns from everyone involved."

For more information, contact Ciocchetti at 318.869.5246 or cciocche@centenary.edu, or see the Forum webpage.