The Commons presents this series, in collaboration with campus partners and visiting scholars, to invite dialogue across disciplines, that references the broader conversations we face at a societal level. These events broach topics of intersectional identity, community, and the sociopolitical implications of events. While they address themes that are at times difficult to discuss, they encourage conversations worth having. Through this series we endeavor to frame these topics so that conversation is productive despite the difficulty and potential for disagreement.
We recognize that the only way to understand different perspectives is to hear them, and to keep asking questions. Please feel encouraged to contribute to the discussion, and recognize that many of these topics are particularly sensitive.
Partners in programming include: the KU Libraries, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, the KU Honors Program, the Office of First-Year Experience, the KU Law School, Peace & Conflict Studies, the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, the Hall Center for the Humanities, the Spencer Museum of Art, the Department of English, the Department of Design, and the School of Architecture & Design.
Sponsored by: the Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture Fund, The Commons at KU, The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the KU Office of Research, Lawrence Interfaith Refugee and Immigrant Ministry, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Lawrence Public Library
On January 24, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas will give the annual Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture for The Commons at the University of Kansas. His talk will be at 7:00pm at Liberty Hall. In anticipation of this event, The Commons is co-hosting events in conjunction with his upcoming visit.
In 2011, Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine. Documented chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his public struggle as an immigration reform activist/provocateur; and his journey inward as he reconnects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in 20 years. A broken immigration system leads to broken families and broken lives.
Before showing Documented, we will screen a short film made by KU students, that features local immigration stories.
Supported by The Commons, The Raven Book Store, the Office of First-Year Experience, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, the Office of Research, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Office of the Provost
Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, performer, educator, and writer. Her work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, BuzzFeed Reader, Academy of American Poets and other publications. Her work has been featured on news outlets including PBS, NBC, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and others. In 2011, she created REFLEKS, a Spoken Word Poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina while on a Fulbright Scholarship studying theater in post-genocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise collective and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall 2015. She is the writer of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights a friendship between women of color. In 2017 she was the recipient of a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Her debut collection of poems If They Come For Us was released via One World/Random House in August 2018. With Safia Elhillo, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019).
Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) and holds an MFA in poetry from the New School. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and recipient of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation, and Crescendo Literary and The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Incubator. Safia’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Callaloo, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day series, among others, and in anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Her work has been translated into Arabi, Japanese, Estonian, and Greek, and has been commissioned by Under Armour and the Bavarian State Ballet. With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). Safia is of Sudanese origin and lives in Washington, DC.
This event connects to themes of making art as a form of activism, immigration, identity, and celebrating roots deeper than one country's borders can contain, and is presented in conjunction with the 2018-19 KU Common Book Create Dangerously, the Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat.
Tickets are free and available here: https://www.universe.com/events/fatimah-asghar-and-safia-elhillo-tickets-lawrence-19BVWN.
Supported by The Commons, the Raven Book Store, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, the Office of Research, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the Office of the Provost
Hieu Minh Nguyen is the author of This Way to the Sugar, (Write Bloody Press, 2014) which was a finalist for both a Minnesota Book Awards and a Lambda Literary Awards. His most recent work, Not Here, was released via Coffee House Press in April of 2018.
A queer Vietnamese American poet, Hieu is a Kundiman fellow and a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine. His work has also appeared in the Southern Indiana Review, Guernica, Ninth Letter, Devil's Lake, Bat City Review, the Paris-American, and elsewhere. Hieu is a nationally touring poet, performer, and teaching artist. He lives in Minneapolis where he flails his arms and forgets to take his clothes out of the dryer.
Tickets are free and available here: https://www.universe.com/events/hieu-minh-nguyen-tickets-lawrence-8CLRNM