Teach-Ins on Social Justice
January 11, 2021
Humanity lies at the core of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and justice is an inextricable value of our work. In a series of teach-ins sponsored by college departments, faculty, graduate students, and alumni are joining together to offer historical lenses on the Black Lives Matter movement and inspiration for moving forward. Visit past entries for study guides and other resources, and check back for future events.
The Professional and Technical Writing Program in the Virginia Tech Department of English sponsored a virtual event, “Black Technical and Professional Communication,” on November 30, 2020.
During this free event, a coalition of Black scholars in technical and professional communication offered their perspectives on defining Black technical and professional communication, advocating for the inclusion of Black perspectives in the body of mainstream disciplinary scholarship and pedagogical practice, and carving out the methodological, theoretical, and practical space that will enable other Black scholars, teachers, and practitioners in the field to see and do such work.
“This event was organized in response to national calls for interrogations into anti-Blackness and white supremacy across domains, and to a call by the president of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing to redress anti-Blackness within our spheres of influence,” said event organizer Jennifer Sano-Franchini, an associate professor of English and director of the Professional and Technical Writing Program at Virginia Tech.
The questions of who gets to vote, and how, have generated some of the most divisive struggles in American political history. “Voter Suppression in the United States, Past and Present” — a Virginia Tech webinar held October 8, 2020 — sets the voter rights activism of our own time in historical perspective.
Panelists drew on their own experiences with voter registration campaigns as well as their knowledge of previous generations’ battles over the right to vote. Speakers included:
- Claudrena Harold, Professor of History, University of Virginia;
- Jason Chavez, Elections Division, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office;
- Karen Jones, Editor-in-Chief of ColorsVA and PAC Chair of Local NAACP; and
- Jasmine Castillo Alvarado, History and Political Science Major at Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Tech Department of History hosted the third in its series of webinars on September 8 at 11:00 a.m. “Social Injustice and Police Violence in the United States” was held in solidarity with the Scholar Strike of 2020.
In addition, Matthew Gabriele, chair of the Virginia Tech Department of Religion and Culture, and Varsha Venkatasubramanian, a graduate student in history at the University of California, Berkeley, co-hosted a special installment of their webinar series, “Drinking with Historians,” on September 8 at 7:00 p.m. In “Scholar Strike with Anthea Butler and Kevin Gannon,” the organizers of Scholar Strike explored collective action and the academy and why that’s important.
The Virginia Tech Department of History hosted “Confederate Commemoration in Academic Settings: A Webinar on Memory and Race” — the second in its series of webinars addressing race, protest, and social justice — on August 12. View the event page to watch the video.
In “Black Lives Matter and Social Movements,” a virtual teach-in hosted by the Virginia Tech Department of History on July 2, a panel of specialists discussed the historical and social contexts of Black Lives Matter and other movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Visit the event page to view the video and the Department of History’s listed of suggested readings on race.
The Virginia Tech Department of English hosted “Black Matters: A Teach-In on Language, Literature, Rhetoric, Writing, and Verbal Art” on June 30. Visit the page to watch the video and download a suggested list of readings.
Four emerging scholars in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech presented research-based perspectives on the nexus of technology and racism in a virtual panel discussion on June 17. Visit the “Technology and Anti-Black Surveillance” page to access the panelists’ suggested study guide.
The Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech hosted a webinar, “Teach-In on Anti-Black State Violence,” on June 10. A panel of scholars — Brian Britt, Sylvester Johnson, Shaily Patel, Dominique Polanco, and Balbir Singh — examined the historical roots of anti-Black state violence internationally.
The college community speaks out in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.