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"Expanding the Diversity Conversation:Art, Consciousness, and Social Justice"

Thursday, March 19, 2015
12:00 AM
U-M School of Dentistry, Room G322

This event is sponsored by PCCS

In this shared presentation, Kyra Gaunt and Ed Sarath will extend the boundaries of typical conversations concerning diversity by exploring the areas of art and consciousness and the profound ramifications that they have for diversity.  Art and consciousness have not been part of diversity discourse nearly to the extent that is possible, and that is arguably needed, if genuine progress is to be made.  The limited connection between art and diversity is particularly evident in music studies, with its strong monocultural center.  Furthermore, consciousness—
defined in our presentation as a core facet of human experience that includes the innermost, transcendent dimensions of subjective awareness—is even more distant in academic diversity discourse.

In her wide-ranging approach to her work and teaching, Dr. Gaunt epitomizes the ideas of creativity, diversity, transcendence, and passionate activism.  The author of The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop, she specializes in the areas of race, gender, and African-American music, with projects ranging from writing songs as a form of human intervention to leading workshops that teach young women of color how to resist devaluation online by telling their own stories in videos.  In her ethnomusicology and cultural anthropology classes, she also embraces an open and personal teaching style in order to bring awareness and personal empowerment to her students at the deepest level.

In our presentation, the expanded terrain into which Dr. Gaunt and Prof. Sarath will delve invites celebration of the varying ways that different cultures have broached interior experience and development.  It also brings into view diverse epistemologies—or ways of knowing—that help foster self-awareness, critical inquiry faculties, and liberation from limiting stereotypes that impede progress in an increasingly global society.  In this presentation, new light will be shed on race, ethnicity, culture, gender, class, sexual identity, and other facets not typically characteristic of academic diversity discourse.

Kyra Gaunt; Ed Sarath