Contemporary Issues Lecture Series

Amy Goldstein copyright Melina Mara

Amy Goldstein
“Janesville - An American Story”
Monday, October 22, 2018
7 p.m. Young Auditorium

In over 30 years as a staff writer at the Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Amy Goldstein has focused on stories that lie at the intersection of politics and public policy and explore the effects of both on ordinary people.  Her first book, "Janesville - An American Story", reflects this interest.  In writing this book, Goldstein spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation's oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession.  She is currently the Post's national health-care policy writer and has reported on a number of other social policy issues.  Goldstein has been a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for Research on Poverty, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a visiting journalist at the American Institutes for Research, and a fellow at Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

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Kyle Whyte

Kyle Whyte
“Indigenous Sustainability: Honoring Lands, Resurging Communities, Resisting Injustice”
Monday, November 26, 2018
7 p.m. Young Auditorium

Kyle Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability. His primary research in Indigenous philosophy addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples and the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. This research covers Indigenous philosophies of sustainability and resilience and connects with theoretical literatures on decolonization and Indigenous resurgence. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Professor Whyte is involved in a number of projects and organizations that advance Indigenous research methodologies and Indigenous sustainability, including the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup, Sustainable Development Institute of the College of Menominee Nation, Tribal Climate Camp, and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence. He has served as an author on the U.S. National Climate Assessment and is former member of the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science.


Fleming Nicole Mondestin Photography

Crystal Fleming
“How to Be Less Stupid About Race”
Monday, March 4, 2019
7 p.m. Young Auditorium

Crystal Marie Fleming is a writer, public intellectual and social scientist whose interdisciplinary interests span the fields of sociology, Black Studies and critical race theory.  She is Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. Professor Fleming's passion for speaking truth to power, addressing injustice and promoting equality infuses her scholarship, writing and teaching. She has conducted research on racism and anti-racism across the globe.  Her new book, "How to Be Less Stupid about Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide", combines memoir, critical race theory, social commentary and satire to debunk common misconceptions about racism.  Her research appears in journals such as The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Poetics, and the Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and Mindfulness.  She has been recognized with several awards and appointments including a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Ford Foundation Fellow, the Georges-Lavau Best Dissertation Award, the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Mellon Mays Award for Outstanding Academic Performance, Social Service and Personal Character.​

Stephen Ritz

Stephen Ritz
“The Power of a Plant: A Teacher's Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools”
Monday, April 22, 2019
7 p.m. Young Auditorium

South Bronx educator, innovator and urban farmer Stephen Ritz developed a ground breaking, internationally certified curriculum that embeds concepts of sustainability, food, energy and environmental justice aligned to STEM content areas for elementary schools.  Affectionately known as "America's Favorite Teacher," Ritz has moved attendance in his school from 40% to 93% daily, helped provide 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx and received the United States EPA Award for transforming mindsets and landscapes in NYC.  His work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, TNT, Disney, and NPR, as well as internationally from Colombia to Dubai. His TED talk boasts more than 1 million views, he was featured in the film adaptation of Michael Pollan's best-selling book, In Defense of Food, NPR's All Things Considered, ABC's The Chew and The Rockefeller Foundation's Food for Thought. Heroes in the Classroom featured Ritz as one of the top fifty teachers in America.   His debut book, "The Power of a Plant", debuted as a #1 best-seller on Amazon.

Lectures are free and open to the public.  Contact Susan Johnson (; 262-472-4766) for further information.


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