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Past Events


Democratizing Knowledge hosts Mele Murals

Democratizing Knowledge hosted Mele Murals: the film screening and Q&A with filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura, was held in Grant Auditorium TUESDAY APRIL 25th 5PM. Thanks to our co-sponsors: Sociology Department, Religion Department and Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“Mele Murals” is a documentary on the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. At the center of this story are the artists Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime), a group of Native Hawaiian charter-school youth and the rural community of Waimea, dealing with the ill effects of environmental changes and encroaching modernization on their native culture.

Set against the resurgence of Hawaiian language and culture of the past twenty years, Estria and Prime tell how their street art has taken them on personal journeys to discover their history, identity and responsibilities as Hawaiian people. Estria, who left Hawai’i to study art on the mainland, made a name for himself as a street artist and returned to reconnect with his Hawaiian roots. Prime, who grew up in the projects and became one of the first kings of the Honolulu graffiti scene, left a life of hustling and drugs after the birth of his first child and returned to writing when he realized it was a way to help youth.

Through the personal stories of these two renowned Hawaiian graffiti artists and their joint quest to uphold Hawaiian culture through mural-making, “Mele Murals” shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti combines with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact the students, the town of Waimea, and most of all the artists.

See the event poster


Democratizing Knowledge hosts Winona LaDuke

Democratizing Knowledge recently hosted a series of events with Ojibwe scholar activist, environmentalist and writer Winona LaDuke. In addition to an extremely well-attended campus lecture, DK hosted a small meet and greet with Native faclty and students from SU and SUNY ESF, and in collaboration with Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Center a lunch and dinner with members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and a trip to the Onondaga Nation to visit with their women-led seed project. LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. She is Program Director of Honor the Earth, and founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, she has written five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All Our Relations and a novel - Last Standing Woman.  You can access a news story about Winona's visit here. The public event poster at SU can be found here.

DK thanks, in particular, Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Center and Phil Arnold/Sandy Bigtree for their collaboration in bringing Winona to Onondaga territory.


Democratizing Research: Organizing for Change

Democratizing Knowledge recently hosted Nina Mehta and Krysta Williams from PARCEO (Participatory Action Research Center). Our training brought together two dozen Syracuse University faculty, graduate students, staff, and community partners to learn more about participatory action research (PAR) and it's application in instutional and community settings. PAR is a framework for engaging in research and organizing for social justice that is rooted in a community's own knowledge, wisdom, and experience. PAR recognizes that those most impacted by systemic injustice are in the best position to understand and analyze their needs and challenges and to organize for social change.

paro par2


Race & Our Communities: A Democratizing Knowledge Conversation

Democratizing Knowledge recently hosted a conversation with DK Summer Institute alum Dr Monique Guishard (CUNY Bronx Community College) and Dr LeConte Dill (SUNY Downstate Medical Center). Members of the SU community engaged in a lively discussion of Monique and LeConte's work--putting it into conversation with work happening at SU and in the broader Syracuse community. The DK Collective is particularly grateful to Vani Kannan, Yanira Rodriguez, and Ernest Daily for their contributions to this discussion. Thank you!


Scholarship On Indigenous Agriculture: Crimes of Incompetence & Bias

In Fall 2016 Democratizing Knowledge hosted a discussion with Tuscarora scholar Jane Mt Pleasant (Cornell University). The event included provision of Haudenosaunee food by Angie Ferguson. Thank you Angie! Thanks also to Phil Arnold and the Ska.nonh Great Law of Peace Center for facilitating the catering.


The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde

An Evening with Dr. Gloria Joseph, author of The Wind is Spirit

Monday February 29, 2016

Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse



American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

Boggs bannerTuesday April 21, 2015
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons
Film and Discussion with
Jun Okada, SUNY Geneseo
Derek Chang, Cornell

Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman, writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement. This film plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century; from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience – the ability to transform oneself to transform the world.

Co-sponsors: The Labor Studies Working Group and the Departments of African American Studies, Asian/Asian American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies

A part of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month #SU_AAPIMONTH

Please contact Mary Rose Go (, 315-443-8750) if you require accommodations. Free and open to the public. Accessible poster here.


The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo: Film Screening and Post-Film Discussion with Producer Amina Mama

Wednesday April 1, 2015

Falk 200 (Old Law School Building)

The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo explores the artistic contributions of one of Africa’s foremost woman writers, a trailblazer for an entire generation of exciting new talent, including internationally acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie. This hour-long documentary locates the multi-textured variety of Aidoo’s writing in an historical and cultural context, and charts her pivotal journey through moments of inspiration in a life that spans seven decades, from colonial Ghana through the tumultuous era of independence, to a more sober present day Africa where nurturing women’s creative talent remains as difficult as ever.

Amina Mama is one of Africa’s leading activist feminist scholars. A former Chair in Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town’s African Gender Institute for 10 years, she founded the journal Feminist Africa, has taught courses in African cinema and co-produced The Witches of Gambaga. She is currently on the faculty of Women and Gender Studies at the University of California, Davis.

Free and open to the public.

Co-sponsors: African American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies

Please contact Mary Rose Go (, 315-443-8750) if you require accommodations. Click here to view accessible poster.


Democratizing Knowledge and Black Graduate Student Association Event

Wednesday, March 25 - Presumed Incompetent: A Conversation on Navigating Academia
6pm - 8 pm
HLL 111
Join us in a group dialogue between faculty and graduate students of color.

Dinner is provided. Please RSVP with by Friday March 20, 2015. View the poster here.


Lecture & Performance by Diana Ferrus

Monday September 29, 2014

5pm – 7pm

Peter Graham Scholarly Commons

Diana Ferrus is an internationally-acclaimed South African poet, activist, and storyteller.  Her poem “I’ve come to take you home” for Sarah Baartman, a Khoi Khoi woman who was paraded in freak shows in 19th century Europe inspired the French Senate to vote unanimously to return Baartman’s remains to South Africa.   The poem is published in the French Law, a landmark in French history.  At her performance lecture, Diana Ferrus will trace the genealogy of her poem to Sarah Baartman, linking it to colonialism, apartheid, and the roots of the designation “Coloured” in South Africa.  She will read from her book I’ve come to take you home and discuss the significant impact the return of Sarah Baartman’s remains had on the people of South Africa.

CO-SPONSORS: Departments of Women's & Gender Studies, Cultural Foundations of Education, African American Studies, Languages, Literatures, and Lingustics, and The Writing Program


"Transnational Challenges to Global Empire: Cultivating Ethical Feminist Praxis"

Friday May 16, 2014
9am - 1pm
3201 Hall, UC Davis

The growth of feminist and ethnic studies has opened up new theoretical frontiers in social justice pedagogy and research. These interrogate the meaning of "the public" in the context of systemic inequalities, combining postcolonial feminist theories of intersectionality with insights deriving from transnational feminism. Discussants are challenged to explore the ethical and methodological implications that arise from bringing the insights of US-based feminist work into dialogue with the work of transnational feminist movements.

Speakers include:

Chandra Talpade Mohanty Bio

Linda Carty Bio

Paula C. Johnson Bio

Dana M. Olwan Bio

Amina Mama Bio

Susy Zepeda Bio

Margo Okazawa-Rey Bio

Click here to view photos of the event


Documentary Filmmaking Workshop with Crystal Griffith and HQ Quan of QUAD Productions

April 4-5, 2014
Tolley Humanities Building

A 2-day (14 hour) intensive documentary production workshop focusing on preproduction and production by award winning filmmakers, C. A. Griffith and H. L. T. Quan of QUAD Productions. Participants will learn how to develop an idea for a documentary on social justice related issues, and acquire professional ethics and basic production skills (sound, camera, lighting, and interview techniques). Quan and Griffith are documentary filmmakers and co-founders of QUAD Productions, a not-for-profit production company that produces media for progressive community organizations and activists. Some DK Collective members have projects they plan to turn into documentaries, making this workshop timely and important as a pedagogical tool.

América's Home Film Screening

Thursday April 3, 2014
Shemin Auditorium

América's Home is the story of América "Meca" Sorrentini-Blaut, a feisty Puerto Rican woman in her 70's and her fight against developers intent on bulldozing her community and her family's historic home. Her story is one of many tales of resistance against rampant greed, gentrification, and displacement taking place all across the American Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and on the U.S. mainland. Meca lives on fixed income in Chicago and struggles to restore the Sorrentini's circa 1900's home in Santurce, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of the "new" San Juan. Aided by a group of her contemporaries, the youngest of whom is 65, these "retired" construction workers and artisans painstakingly restore the house and transform it into Casa Sofia, a cultural center named in honor of Meca's mother. When developers offered $2 million dollars to knock down Casa Sofia and build exclusive condos, Meca refused. As one activist observes, "Not everything of value is for sale."

Co-sponsored by Women's & Gender Studies


Comparative Settler Colonialisms in Conversation:
Indigenous Critique, Alliance Politics, and Decolonized Futures

Monday March, 17, 2014
Peter Graham Commons, Bird Library

Scott Morgensen, Professor, Gender Studies, Queen's University, ON
Jodi Byrd, Associate Professor, English and American Indian Studies, University Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dana Olwan, Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, Syracuse University
Hayley Cavino, Doctoral Candidate, School of Education, Syracuse University

The growth of settler colonial studies has created opportunities for rethinking familiar modes of theorizing colonialism, racism, and empire. This field allows us to draw comparisons and interrogate state practices and social activism across settler colonial sites. Drawing on critical race, indigenous, and postcolonial feminist studies, this panel brings together indigenous and allied scholars to theorize old and new imperial formations. Participants will engage in a conversation about the uses, challenges, and possible pitfalls of theorizing settler colonialism as a way toward indigenous critique. Together the panelists will draw on their work to demonstrate their stakes in just political alliances and decolonized futures.

Co-sponsored by Women's & Gender Studies

Click here to view event poster

Illegal in Arizona - Banned Ethnic Studies: Can this be a national trend?

Friday November 8, 2013 

4:00 PM

Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

Sean Arce, former director of Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District’s outlawed Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program

Co-sponsors: Latino/a-Latin American Studies, University College, Humanities Center, College of Arts & Sciences, Cultural Foundations of Education, and La Casita Cultural Center

Click here to view event poster

Un/Freedom and the Ethics of Activist Method: Critical reflections on Feminist Engagements with women incarcerated as witches

Tuesday November 5, 2013


Peter Grahams Commons – Bird Library

Talk by Amina Mama, Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at University of California, Davis and Founding Editor of Feminist Africa

Co-sponsors: Women’s & Gender Studies, Humanities Center, AAS, CFE, PARC and the DK Project.

Click here to view event poster


Dana Olwan & Farhana Sultana: Islam & the Academy: Confronting Orientalism

Friday, April 19, 2013
12:00 pm
Tolley Buildling, Room 304

Dana Olwan is Assistant Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies where she is currently preparing her book ‘Dishonorable Crimes: Murder, Rescue, and the Politics of Canadian Multiculturalism’.

Farhana Sultana is an Associate Professor of geography whose work includes the edited volume ‘The Right to Water: Politics, Governance and Social Struggles’.

Click here to view event poster

Co-sponsor: Women's and Gender Studies 

Dean Spade: Teaching the Politics of Occupation

Monday April 1, 2013
Tolley Building, Room 304

Dean Spade is Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University and the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex ad gender non-conforming people who are low income and/or people of color. Spade is the author of ‘Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law’ and is currently co-teaching a new course on “Occupation: Law, Politics, Morality” at Columbia Law School.

Co-sponsors: LGBT Resource Center 

Click here to view event poster

Marcela Olivera - Changing the Flow: Organizing Water Movements in Latin America

Monday, April 16, 2012
5:15 pm
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

Marcela Olivera is a Visiting Associate at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University and the Latin American coordinator for the Water for All Campaign from Food and Water Watch.  Olivera developed an inter-American citizens’ network on water rights: Red Vida which she coordinates from Cochabamba, Bolivia.  

Co-sponsors: African American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Office of the Dean - College of Arts & Sciences, Cultural Foundations of Education, Humanities Center, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC), Latino/Latin American Studies Program, Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics and the Lino Novas Calvo Speaker Series. 

Click here to view event poster

'Somebody Forgot to Tell Somebody Something' - Women of Color and Queer of Color Cultural Production in the 80s and 90s

Wednesday March 2, 2011
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

Lisa Kahaleole Hall has a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, is Chair of the Women's and Gender Studies program at Wells College, and has a lengthy career in grassroots cultural production as a poet, performer, editor, event organizer, and small press promoter including for the small presses aunt lute books and Third Woman Press.

Co-sponsors: OUTLaw, SU College of Law, Office of Multicultural Affairs, School of Education, LGBT Resource Center, University College, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Department, Program on Latin America and the Caribbean (PLACA), Native American Studies, Latino/a-Latin American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and African American Studies.

Click here to view the event poster

Angela Davis: Radical Pedagogies & Prison Abolition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
304 Tolley

Angela Y Davis is Professor Emerita, at University of California, Santa Cruz; and Distinguished Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and African American Studies at Syracuse University.

Click here to see event poster

Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama, A Conversation on Life, Struggle, and Liberation

Film Screening & Discussion

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
5:30 pm
Watson Theater, Watson Hall
Reception at Watson Hall: 7.30 pm

With filmmakers C. A. (Crystal) Griffith (Associate Professor of Film and Media Production in the School of Theatre and Film at Arizona State University), and H. L. T. Quan (Assistant Professor of Justice & Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University). Joined by Angela Y Davis (Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz).

CO-SPONSORS: Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Office of Multicultural Affairs, William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities, Department of African American Studies, Intergroup Dialogue Program, Sociology Department, Cultural Foundations of Education, LGBT Studies, English Department, Asian/Asian American Studies, Imagining America, History Department, Communication & Rhetorical Studies, College of Visual & Performing Arts.

Click here for event poster

8 Conversations about Race

Tuesday September 14, 2010
Peter Graham Commons, Bird Library

"We're beyond race. Racial diversity is killing us. Everyone's a little bit racist. It's just identity politics. Variety is the spice of life. It's a Black thing - you wouldn't understand. I'm ___ and I'm proud. Race is in our DNA."

Markus and Moya, co-editors of Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century, W. W. Norton, 2010, consider eight common conversations that people in the United States have with one another as they make sense of daily events in which race and ethnicity figure prominently.

Co-sponsors: Future of Minority Studies at Syracuse University, Women's and Gender Studies Department

Click here to view event poster


Mindy Fullilove

April 15, 2010
304 Tolley

Expert on main streets to speak on downtown revitalization in Syracuse

March 24, 2010

Jemeli Tanui
(315) 443-5172

Columbia University professor Mindy Fullilove—whose work includes studying 100 main streets in the United States, France and Japan—will present a talk titled “Just Design and the Future of Main Street” Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in The Warehouse Auditorium at 350 W. Fayette St. in downtown Syracuse. The event is free and open to the public.

Fullilove’s visit is the second conversation hosted by Art-in-Motion, a project of Imagining America (IA), Open Hand Theater and Syracuse Stage that features four public conversations and a large, participatory performance centered on activating the arts and stimulating urban redevelopment in Syracuse. The first conversation, held March 3, featured renowned multimedia artist Barnaby Evans, creator of the world-famous WaterFire installation in Providence, RI.

Fullilove, who is a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, will discuss how downtowns become places that people want to come to. She will emphasize the capacity of design to be not just beautiful but also to move people closer to an open and democratic society in which everyone participates in decision making about the future.

“Mindy is a perfect follow-up to Barnaby Evans, who presented one amazing art project in Providence. Mindy will explain what else has to be in place for art to contribute to the revitalization of downtowns,” says Jan Cohen-Cruz, IA director and University Professor at Syracuse University.

Fullilove will make two other appearances that are also free and open to the public.

She will meet with Syracuse Latina/o residents, and SU students Wednesday, April 14, at 5:30 p.m. in the city’s Near Westside neighborhood. The neighborhood visit will be facilitated by La Casita Cultural Center Project, an SU Chancellor’s Leadership Project that works to build bridges of communication, collaboration and exchange between the University and the Latina/o population of the city. “As a community that has long experienced levels of economic and social disempowerment, Syracuse Latinos and Latinas and neighbors of the Near Westside will find great relevance in Dr. Fullilove’s work and words,” says Inmaculada Lara-Bonilla, assistant professor in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and La Casita Cultural Center project coordinator.

Democratizing Knowledge (DK)—a Chancellor’s Leadership Project working to make SU a more progressive and inclusive intellectual campus—will host a lunch and conversation about the politics that drive Fullilove’s work on Thursday, April 15, at 12:15 p.m. in the SU Humanities Center, Room 304 in the Tolley Humanities Building. “Dr. Fullilove’s public health work with communities of all kinds demonstrates the ethics, the politics and the challenges of communicating across divides of knowledge and privilege, topics central to the DK project, and we look forward to this informal conversation with her,” says Margaret Himley, professor of writing and rhetoric, and co-director of the LGBT studies program and minor.

This will be Fullilove’s second talk in Syracuse. She visited last year to discuss the impact of urban renewal on the city’s 15th Ward, the neighborhood that used to exist under the I-81 overpass.

“Mindy’s work reminds us that urban spaces are not just questions of geography or architecture but are also psychological places filled with memory and meaning. Efforts to revitalize and redefine Syracuse’s downtown need to take account of the neighborhoods that were there before urban renewal transformed our city,” says Kendall Phillips, associate dean of research and graduate studies, and also professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies in SU’sCollege of Visual and Performing Arts.

For more information or to R.S.V.P. for The Warehouse event,  or call (315) 443-8590. To R.S.V.P. for the DK lunch, contact Griselda Rodriguez at To R.S.V.P. for the La Casita event, contact Lara-Bonilla at  

For more information on Fullilove’s work, visit

Source: SU News

Spring 2010 Conversations

"Democratizing Graduate Education"

Wednesday March 3, 2010
304 Tolley

Graduate students' reflections on the benefits and obstacles of becoming a radical intellectual and/or scholar-activist within academia.

Conversation Leaders:
Sarah Miraglia, Sociology
Hayley Cavino, Cultural Foundations of Education
Vivek Srinivasan, Social Sciences

Moderator: Griselda Rodriguez, Sociology

"Saying YES to Education"

Wednesday March 24, 2010
304 Tolley

A conversation on an initiative to help more children in Syracuse succeed academically, graduate from high school and pursue higher education.

Conversation Leaders:
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University
Douglas Biklen, Dean of the School of Education

Margaret Himley, Writing and Rhetoric/LGBT Studies

"Talking Back: University-Community Partnerships"

Wednesday April 21, 2010
304 Tolley

A conversation on the ways community organizations in the city's less empowered neighborhoods interact with the University's presence in the area and on the prospects for truly collaborative campus-community partnerships

Conversation Leaders:
Sharon Jack-Williams, Exec. Director, Paul Laurence Dunbar Community Center
Rita Paniagua, Exec. Director, Spanish Action League
Samuel H. Sage, President/Senior Scientist, Atlantic States Legal Foundation

Silvio Torres-Saillant, English/Latino/Latin American Studies

Click here to view event poster

"Decolonizing Knowledge: Embracing an Insurgent Intellectual Tradition in the Spirit of Ella Baker"

Wednesday February 10, 2010
220 Eggers, Public Events Room

Barbra Ransby, Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of the award-winning biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (University of North Carolina Press, 2003). Ransby writes widely for numerous popular and scholarly publications, including Progressive Media Project, which distributes her columns nationally. In addition to the program Eight Forty-Eight on Chicago Public Radio, she has contributed to over a dozen audio and film documentaries. A feminist activist committed to fostering university-community collaborations, Professor Ransby was one of the coordinators of African American Women in Defense of Themselves in 1991, Ella's Daughters in 2006, and A movement Re-imagining Change (ARC) in 2009.

Co-sponsors: Department of African American Studies, Future of Minority Studies @ SU, History Department, LGBT Studies Program and Minor, Native American Studies, PLACA, Sociology, Women's and Gender Studies Department

Click here to view event poster

Race, LGBT Politics, and Critical Legalities

Thursdsay, November 18, 2010
304 Tolley

Adele M. Morrison is an Associate Professor of Law at Wayne State University. She is a member of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Board of Governors where she is currently Co-chair of the Access to Justice Committee.

Co-sponsors: LGBT Resource Center, LGBT Program, African American Studies, Women's & Gender Studies, Office of Multicultural Affairs

Click here to view the event poster


Decolonizing Knowledge: Working from Within Our Particular Locations

Wednesday November 11, 2009
304 Tolley

Jackie Orr (Sociolog/Maxwell School) and Paula Johnson (Law School) will start the conversation. Chandra Talpade Mohanty (Women's and Gender Studies) will facilitate.

Click here for event poster


Critical Institutional Literacies: Working from Within

Wednesday October 28, 2009
304 Tolley

Kal Alston, Associate Provost and Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director of Imagining America will start the conversation. Linda Carty, African American Studies will facilitate.

Click here for event poster


Who Counts as Smart? Whose Knowledge Counts as Worthy?

Wednesday October 14, 2009
304 Tolley

Cecilia Green (Sociology) and Sari Biklen (Cultural Foundations of Education) will start the conversation. Margaret Himley (Writing Program and LGBT Studies Program and Minor) will facilitate.

Click here for event poster