Forum series to foster discussions on race and inequity

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As the fall semester at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville gets underway, the College of Liberal Arts and Education is offering a number of opportunities outside of the classroom for students, and the wider community, to engage in discussions about race and inequality, as well as the contribution of African American voices to the liberal arts and education fields, through two concurrent forum series.

Race and the Criminal Justice System begins on Wednesday, Sept. 9. This is a four-part forum series that will create a space for the UW-Platteville community to learn about historical, structural and systemic issues related to race and the criminal justice system. Contributors will include scholars, experts and field practitioners, each offering deep insights into the issue and providing suggestions about what society and individuals can do to effect change.

To view forum topics, dates and times, and to register, visit

The series, The Liberal Arts@ Work: Black Voices in the Liberal Arts, will kick off on Sept. 8 and feature eight forums.

“The Black Voices in the Liberal Arts series invites us to learn more about the contributions of Black thinkers to a wide array of academic fields,” said Dr. Amanda Tucker, associate professor of English and organizer of the series. “All faculty and academic staff are welcome to participate and we hope for participants to join us for multiple sessions. Our ultimate goal is to create a community on campus that is focused on racial equity.” 

All sessions will be held on Tuesday mornings from 8-9 a.m. Participants can register online. Series dates and topics are as follows:

  • Introduction: Black Voices in the Liberal Arts, presented by Dr.  Amanda Tucker on Sept. 8
  • The History of Hip-Hop, presented by Dr. Frank King on Sept. 22
  • The Black Atlantic, presented by Dr. Melissa Gormley on Oct. 6
  • Black Women Writers, presented by Dr. Dong Isbister on Oct. 20
  • The Harlem Renaissance, presented by Dr. David Kruegler on Nov. 3
  • Caribbean Historians and Revisionist History, presented by Dr. Shan Sappleton on Nov. 17
  • A Critical Lens to Established Discourses: Racism and American Sociology, presented by Dr. Carrie Keller on Dec. 1
  • African American Humor, presented by Dr. David Gillota on Dec. 15

Dr. Shan Sappleton, associate professor of political science, who is participating in both forum series, said that the two series complement each other and provide an important opportunity for students and the community to gain a deeper understanding. 

“I believe that each forum is incredibly important in speaking to the issues of the moment, particularly in providing a space for our students – and wider community – to learn more about, garner deeper insights into, and develop more a nuanced understanding of the issues regarding racial (in)equity in the U.S.,” Sappleton said. “The forums also greatly complement each other – with one focusing primarily on deepening understanding of the current frustrations and demands for systemic changes, while the other points to the positive contributions of people of color to various academic disciplines, particularly those within the liberal arts and education tradition. Having students and the wider community consider both aspects is crucial in the quest to effect change to the institutionalized racial beliefs, attitudes and practices in the U.S., and achieve a more just and egalitarian society for all.”