Ferguson Voices

Americans often view police violence and related issues of structural racism as if they were unique to the United States, when in fact these challenges are common globally.  Making these global connections can help us learn something valuable about our own society – about the shared histories that give rise to distinctive forms of race relations, about transnational processes shaping race relations, law enforcement, and so on.  Situating these issues in a global context can also help to defuse what are often tense debates by providing us with valuable critical distance on our own politics and society: it’s often easier to make sense of a situation about which we are relatively dispassionate than it is to make sense of one in which we are deeply invested.  Notwithstanding these benefits, drawing transnational connections can itself be profoundly unsettling, forcing us to confront troubling issues such as colonialism, genocide, and white privilege.

The Global Studies Center believes that there is a great opportunity to continue and enrich conversations on diversity and inclusion by situating these issues within their wider global and historical context.  Doing so will provide a literal and metaphorical space for discussion of issues important to all of us and create a unique opportunity to experience diversity through consideration of multiple perspectives on a prominent – and still present – moment in recent American history. By speaking to the global context in which the events in Ferguson, MO unfolded, GSC and its partners will enable students, faculty, and staff to consider these events in new ways that may contribute to a deeper understanding of the events themselves and the broader processes of which they are a part.  These conversations also highlight that the United States must be critically integrated into any adequate conception of “the global”; the programs created around the exhibit highlight some ways in which that might be done. 

Global Studies, the ULS, and others are partnering to bring the traveling Exhibit Ferguson Voices: Disrupting the Frame to the ULS for the month of February (Black History Month).  Ferguson Voices tells the story of the people of Ferguson, Missouri, before, during, and after Michael Brown, a young black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in August 2014.  The physical exhibit will be located in the alcove just to the right of the First Floor entrance of Hillman for the month of February; there is also a website and a podcast.  See below for a full schedule of events related to the exhibit.


Sponsors: Global Studies Center, University Library System, Student Government Board, Departments of: Africana Studies, English, Political Science, and Sociology. Supported by a grant from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


Opening Reception

Friday February 1, 3-5pm, Thornburgh Room, Hillman Library (first floor).

If you were unable to attend the event, or want to get an introduction to the event and its link to Global Studies, you can view the opening remarks from the Director of the Global Studies Center, Dr. Michael Goodhart.

Black Lives Matter: intersectional and transnational perspectives

Thursday Feb 7, at 12:00pm,  Thornburgh Room, Hillman library.

Download the Flyer Here

Donna Auston

Donna Auston is a doctoral candidate, Anthropology Department at Rutgers University. She is a writer, and activist whose body of work focuses on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, media representation, and Islam in America. Her dissertation is an ethnographic exploration of Black Muslim activism and spiritual protest in the Black Lives Matter era. Some of her written work includes book chapters on the historical contributions of African American Muslims in the arts, culture, and social justice movements, and the intersection between Islamophobia and Black Lives Matter.

Donna has a forthcoming co-authored book chapter on Black Islam and U.S. Politics, and she has also published a number of short essays, including, “Mapping the Intersections of Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter: Unearthing Black Muslim Life and Activism in the Policing Crisis,” and “Recalled to Life: On the Meaning and Power of a Die-In." Her work has been covered by national news outlets, including NBC News, and The Huffington Post, and she was named one of the top 100 Muslim Social Justice leaders by MPower Change in 2016.

Jeanette Jouili

Jeanette S. Jouili is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research and teaching interests include Islam in Europe, secularism, pluralism, popular culture, moral and aesthetic practices, and gender. She is author of Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe (Stanford, 2015), has published articles in various peer-reviewed journals (such as Comparative Studies in Society and History, Anthropology Quarterly, Feminist Review, and French Culture, Politics and Society,). Currently, she is working on her second book project: Islam on Stage: British Muslim Culture in the Age of Counterterrorism. 

Ronald Judy

R. A. Judy is Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches course in world literature, critical and literary theory, and literary criticism. He is a member of the Editorial Collective of boundary 2, an international journal of literature and culture, published by Duke University Press. Professor Judy is the author of (Dis)forming the American Canon: The Vernacular of African Arabic American Slave Narrative (1992), and has edited numerous special issues and dossiers for boundary 2, among which are: Tunisia Dossier (2012), Ralph Ellison: The Next Fifty Years (2003); Sociology Hesitant: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Dynamic Thinking (2001), Reasoning and the Logic of Things Global, (1999), and Scattered Speculations on Value: Exchange Between Etienne Balibar, Antonio Negri, and Gayatri Spivak  (1999).


Advancing Health Equity and the Human Right to Health: Social policy perspectives on public health

February 13, 4:30 pm- 6:00pm, Thornburgh Room, Hillman Library.

Download the Flyer Here

At its 2018 annual meeting, the American Public Health Association adopted 12 new policy statements on the most pressing public health concerns. The statements relate to hold mortality, environmental health, gun violence, refugees, police violence, and food security-- all areas in which we find significant racial disparities. This panel features Dr. Tiffany Gary-Webb, Associate Professor in Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health, and other experts exploring the implications of this effort of health professionals to confront inequality and racism and its health impacts. Panelists will consider the role of scholars and practitioners in advancing health equity in these areas as well as the wider lessons for advancing human rights today


Racial Regimes in Transnational Context: A conversation with Michael Hanchard

Monday Feb. 18, at 12:00pm, Thornburgh Room, Hillman Library.

Download the Flyer Here

Michael Hanchard is Professor and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at The University of Pennsylvania and director of the Marginalized Populations project. His research and teaching interests include nationalism, racism, xenophobia and citizenship.


Hands-On Community Writing Workshop with Poet/Artists Saretta Morgan and Bekezela Mguni 

Monday Feb. 25, at 6:30pm, Digital Scholarship Commons, Hillman Library.

Download the Flyer Here

Organized and co-sponsored by the Center for African American Poetry & Poetics, and The Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project, with the Global Studies Center and ULS.

Saretta Morgan is a poet, text-based artist, and inaugural recipient of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics-City of Asylum Dream-Space Residency

Bekezela Mguni is an artist, poet, doula, activist and librarian, and founder of the Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project

Veronica Dristas
Veronica Dristas is the Associate Director of the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.