Department Sponsored Sessions - concurrent, various locations
Art - Temporary Services (Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer)
Location: Cook Auditorium, 141 De Pree Art Center
Temporary Services is the Midwest-based collaborative duo, Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer. Since 1998, the artist pair has initiated social actions, DIY projects, publications and public interventions that raise awareness and create dialogue about social, economic, environmental, and political inequalities.Their projects often take forms that are temporary, ephemeral, and that operate outside of conventional or officially sanctioned categories of public expression.
Past Projects include:
Prisoners’ Inventions, a collaboration between incarcerated artist Angelo that documents inventions created by prisoners in the United States. This collaboration resulted in a book and a full-size recreation of Angelo’s cell that was created from blueprints sent through the mail.
Art Work, a newspaper and accompanying website that consists of writings and images from artists, activists, writers, critics, and others on the topic of working within depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property.
Communication - Lotefa Bartlett de Villarreal
Location: 1008 A. Paul Schaap Science Center
The Truth about Local Poverty: Barriers, Bridges, and Empowering Communication
This session will introduce you to the surprising face of poverty in Ottawa County, with a focus on Holland, Mich. We will be discussing not only the 'what' and 'who' of local poverty but also the way that communication can function as either a bridge or a barrier to connecting with communities and individuals in need. Leaders of the local non-profit program Circles Ottawa County (of Good Samaritan Ministries) will be sharing their experiences of using communication to empower individuals seeking to leave poverty.
Computer Science - Evan Altman, John Dood, Aaron Green, Akio Kist-Okazaki, Gustavo Moura, Justin Scott, Elizabeth Sumner, Nathan Vance, Cole Watson
Location: 1118 A. Paul Schaap Science Center
Examining the Role of Computing and Information Technology on the Problem of Economic Inequality
History - Anna-Lisa Cox
Students in CSCI 481, Senior Project Seminar, were assigned the task of examining the role computing and information technology has played in regard to the issue of economic inequality. They performed substantial research investigating the impacts that computer and information technology has had on both contributing to and reducing the level of economic inequality. They were also asked to examine whether the degree to which economic inequality exists should be considered to be a negative. Each student wrote a position paper based on his/her research,and the class voted on the best papers. The authors of these papers will lead a panel discussion about the topic, with audience participation desired and expected!
Location: Fried-Hemenway Auditorium, 135 Martha Miller Center for Global Communication
The Roots of Economic Inequality: Race, Class and the Denial of the Past
In August of 1883, Eugene Hardy, an African American Civil Rights leader, spoke to a gathered crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The occasion was an Emancipation Celebration, and as part of his speech that day he argued that: “Black is not a color despised by God or man. Four-fifths of the human race are black. Black appears to be the favorite color with the Lord for humanity, and is a favorite color with man everywhere else except in the human face . . . . But it is not the color that is despised, but it is despised in this country because it has become a badge of poverty and ignorance. If it were a badge of wealth and knowledge how different would be our standing in the North . . . . What we want is not another color but power.”
What Eugene Hardy did not know was that people of African descent in America had already proved that “Blackness” was synonymous with success on a scale that can hardly be imagined even today. That people of African descent had taken part in a pioneering movement made of tens of thousands of free African Americans coming to the nation’s first free frontier - the Northwest Territory. There they founded schools, churches, and human rights campaigns that forever changed the face of America, resulting in a backlash so intense that their history has been denied until today.
This session will explore how economic inequality became racialized, tracing the tangled roots of class and color in this nation through the extraordinary lives of these pioneers who believed in the words, “all men are created equal,” fighting alongside civil rights leaders of all backgrounds, not just for freedom but for equality.
Political Science - Matt Grossmann
Location: 1000 A. Paul Schaap Science Center
How Do the Rich Rule? Public Opinion and Interest Groups in Unequal Policy Influence
Economic inequalities are reflected in public policy: the American government’s policy output is more consistent with the opinions of its richest citizens than with those of its poorest. In "Affluence and Influence," Martin Gilens finds that the levels of support from interest groups and citizens from the top decile of the income distribution predict policy adoption, but—after taking rich citizens’ views into account—the opinions of median-income citizens have no effect. I argue that the strength of these relationships depend on the kinds of policy issues under debate and the conservative or liberal direction of proposed policy changes. High-income citizens mostly succeed in blocking liberal economic policy changes. Interest groups usually have more influence than individual citizens of any income level.
Religion - Kent Van Til
Location: Herrick Room, 244 DeWitt Student and Cultural Center
Does Equality Equal Justice?
The session addresses the question of Distributive Justice. That is, how ought goods and ills be distributed within a society. Sources for this will be the Christian ethical tradition, especially Catholic Social Teaching.
Sociology & Social Work - Jody Immink, Michelle Brothers, Val Petre
Location: 104 Vanderwerf Hall
Economic Inequality in Holland: Responses from the Community
This session is a panel discussion by representatives from local agencies that address issues such as housing/homelessness, access to supports in the face of economic barriers, and health care options for underserved populations. The panel will discuss the context of economic disparities in our community, covering both past initiatives and current programs.