Cultural TALKS and Dialogues

Students listening to a Cultural Talk

Cultural TALKS (Trends & Trainings, Awareness, Language, Knowledge, Social Justice) are intended to create spaces where diversity issues can be explored and discussed openly and safely. Through authentic personal exchanges, participants help to advance diversity and cultural competency within the college campus. Diversity education and trainings will be offered to facilitate meaningful discussions, while offering effective tips and action steps that aim to improve diversity efforts and encourage positive community.

The Dialogues programming through DIO allows the TWU community to come together to have conversations specifically about racial and social injustices in today’s society. Participants will engage in respectful, productive dialogue. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

Register for the Spring 2023 Cultural TALKS on Pioneer Engage. You can also view past videos.

Spring 2023 Cultural TALKS Speaker Series

Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts: A Four-Part Series

Presented by Ronald C. McCurdy, PhD.
Professor of Music
Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
University of Southern California

The Ethnomusicologist, Alan Lomax stated, "As we live, so do we sing." This statement demonstrates how art served as a barometer for what was occurring at any given time in society. Our country was founded on the premise of White Supremacy. Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts is a historical journey that will explore how central the arts were used as a means of thwarting racism. From the early creation of the Negro Spirituals in the 17th century to the pulsating rhythms of today’s rap music, African Americans have used their creative voices to express their disdain for racist and oppressive treatment by a country that claimed that, “All men (and women) are created equal.” This presentation will discuss how art has been used to illuminate and thwart systemic racism that has existed in America since its inception.

Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts Part I:
From The Middle Passage to Antebellum Period
When the first parcel of Africans arrived on the shores in Virginia in 1619, they were joined with other poor and exploited Europeans as indentured servants. By the middle of the 17th Century, it had become clear that the Africans were going to be enslaved and the white man would be slave master. This period also ushered in a religious conversion of Africans (and Native Americans) into Christianity. Part of the conversion process involved the teaching of hymns to enslaved Africans which evolved into Negro Spirituals. The new song had a dual purpose, 1) to praise God, and 2) to plan escapes from plantations. This was the first example of art being used as a tool to disrupt racism.

Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts Part II:
From Emancipation to Jim Crow
When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it changed the lives of over 4-million of enslaved Africans. While this proclamation was greeted with promise, it only freed those enslaved Africans who were in confederate states. Post Reconstruction would yield a host of musical styles including the blues, gospel, and jazz. Each of these styles produced a host of music that was used to resist racism. It was also during this period that we would experience what was known as the Harlem Renaissance. Black intellectuals including W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others began writing about the plight of the African American.

Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts Part III:
From Civil Rights Movement to Hip Hop
The Civil Rights Movement was yet another pivotal period in American History. Post Reconstruction, African Americans found themselves fighting for their civil rights. This period also included consistent civil rights protest coupled with anti-Vietnam War sentiments. College campuses were brimming with protests against the war while African Americans protested against police brutality, lack of jobs, housing, and lack of quality education. More artists of several genres created art to protest the lack of civil rights afforded to African Americans. Those artists included Nina Simone, Charles Mingus, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye. In the late 1970s, the Hip Hop culture emerged yielding artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Tupac, and a host of more contemporary rap artists such as Jay-Z, Nas, Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino, H.E.R. and Kendrick Lamar.

Disrupting Racism Through The Lens of the Arts Part IV:
Exploring Juneteenth: How Did Emancipation Really Impact The Enslaved African
This lecture will address the dimensions of Emancipation and how it truly impacted the enslaved African. The session will also address the relevance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment to the Constitution, the emergence of the industrial prison system, and the institution known at Jim Crow. This session like the previous sessions will view this era through the lens of the arts.

Page last updated 10:48 AM, January 3, 2023