Theatre Students Develop Anthology of Audio Plays to Evoke Conversations Around Social Justice Issues

A group of Michigan State University Department of Theatre students created a series of new audio plays, each connected to themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). All five “Audio Anthology” plays, along with a student-produced documentary short, are now available online at theatre.msu.edu/dei_audio.

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Theatre Student’s Drag Queen Web Series Uses Costume Design to Examine Current Events

When the Michigan State University Department of Theatre’s productions for the Fall 2020 semester were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a call went out to all faculty and students for ideas focused on themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion. First-year MFA Design Candidate Zech Saenz, who specializes in costume design, pitched a project addressing the pandemic through the lens of drag queens and comedy. The result is a three-episode web series, called Grads in Drag, which is now available for streaming on-demand.

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A Visionary New Build: The Department of African American and African Studies

Initially started as a PhD granting program in 2002, with an undergraduate minor created in 2014, the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) was officially founded in 2019. Leading the program is Inaugural Department Chair Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown and Foundational Associate Professor Dr. Tamura Lomax. Though the formation of this new department during a global pandemic has presented unique challenges, Dr. Brown and Dr. Lomax have both a vision and mission that is committed to making concrete connections between scholarship, pedagogy, and social justice.

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Building and Mobilizing Women’s Political Power

From the growing gender voting gap to record numbers of women elected to public office to white women’s contribution to white supremacist political movements, women’s place in US politics has never been so hotly debated and contested since the Suffrage Movement of the early 1900s. In this presentation I will highlight some of the key issues in women’s political power in the US in the last four decades, emphasizing recent developments in the 2018 and 2020 elections. I will explore gender voting patterns, the effects that women have on politics when they run for public office, and the directions we might see women’s political power move towards in the next several years.

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Graduating Senior Influential with Curriculum Changes

Olivia Gundrum, a senior Honors College English major and first-generation college student, graduates this May and will leave MSU having made a positive impact through her work to cultivate a racially informed curriculum within the College of Education. As an English major focusing on English Secondary Education, the interconnectedness of racial identity in the English classroom has always intrigued Gundrum.…

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Community Vote to Determine Final ‘Who Is a Citizen?’ Prize

Supporting the voices of emerging artists has never been more important. The MSU Broad and the College of Arts & Letters are honored to have been able to do this work through the Who Is A Citizen? exhibition, which runs through March 21, 2021, at the MSU Broad Art Lab. The public is now invited to help support these emerging artists as…

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New AAAS Department to Focus on Black Feminisms, Black Genders, and Black Sexualities

Being built to blaze a trail in higher education with its focus on Black Feminisms, Black Genders Studies, and Black Sexualities Studies, the architects of the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), the newest department within MSU’s College of Arts & Letters, are unapologetic in this focus as they build the unit they have long dreamed about.  Dr.…

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The Trailblazing Life of MSU’s First African American Faculty Member

David W.D. Dickson’s trailblazing career, spanning more than 40 years and five academic institutions, began at Michigan State University in the Department of English in 1948 when he became the university’s first African American faculty member and, a few years later, the first to be awarded MSU’s Distinguished Faculty Award. He also went on to become the first African American…

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Working Toward a Philosophy for All of Us

“Why philosophy?” That’s a question MSU Philosophy Professor Kristie Dotson, formal advisor to the new Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS), has fielded many times before. Perhaps it is because she had never taken a philosophy course until she began graduate studies in philosophy.  It could also be the centrality of Black feminisms in Dotson’s life and the…

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