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.