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2015 Spring Speaker Series announced

image of the Spring Speaker Series 2015 logo

The Speaker Series of Illinois State University will dedicate spring 2015 to the theme Where We’re Headed, Where We’ve Been.

Talks will explore the politics behind the Hurricane Katrina disaster, lessons to take from World War I, the issues of being transgender, growing up in political exile and building a sustainable business culture.

The Speaker Series of Illinois State University seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.

All events are free and open to the public.

The politics behind Katrina

image of Cedric Johnson

Cedric Johnson

The devastation that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was due to more than Mother Nature, says Cedric Johnson, associate professor of African American studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In honor of Black History Month, Johnson will address the politics that helped lead to the chaos that followed Katrina with his talk titled The City That Care Forgot: New Orleans and the Future of American Urbanism at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

Johnson is editor of a collection of essays titled The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalist Culture and the Remaking of New Orleans. The book won the W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. He is also the author of Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics. 

Johnson’s talk is sponsored by the Office of the President and Department of History.

Living beyond gender expectations

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Laverne Cox

Transgender-issues advocate and critically acclaimed actress Laverne Cox will speak at Illinois State. Cox, who currently appears in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, will present Ain’t I a Woman: My Journey to Womanhood at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Braden Auditorium at the Bone Student Center.

The event is free, but tickets are required for entrance. Tickets will be available at the Braden Box Office in the Bone Student Center, with a maximum of four tickets per person. Tickets will be available for students Feb. 2, for faculty and staff Feb. 9, and to the public Feb. 16.

Cox is a recipient of the Dorian rising star award for her work in Orange is the New Black, and won best supporting actress at the 2013 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for her work in the film Musical Chairs, directed by Susan Seidelman. She has spoken of moving beyond gender expectations to national outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NPR and FOX NEWS LATINO, among other national TV and radio networks.

The talk is sponsored by the University Program Board and Illinois State’s Department of Psychology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, School of Social Work, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of the President, Association of Residence Halls, Student Government Association and Diversity Advocacy.

Building a business culture

image of Jack Hartung

Jack Hartung

John “Jack” Hartung, chief financial officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., and an alumnus of Illinois State, will give a talk titled Building a Sustainable Business Culture at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Center for Performing Arts.

Hartung joined Chipotle as chief financial officer in 2002, when Chipotle was a privately held company with fewer than 200 restaurants. Chipotle became a public company with its highly successful initial public offering in 2006. Now the business has more than 1,700 restaurants – all company owned – and has a market value estimated at nearly $20 billion. Currently, Hartung oversees all aspects of Chipotle’s finance department, including financial and strategic planning, financial reporting, investor relations, tax and business strategy. He also oversees IT and safety, security and risk.

The talk is sponsored by Illinois State’s College of Business, and is part of Business Week 2015.

The life of exiles

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Clément Baloup

Clément Baloup, a cartoonist of Vietnamese and French heritage, explores the mass migration of more than 2 million Vietnamese in his graphic narratives. He will speak about his work with a talk titled The Colors of Exile at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, in room 101 of Stevenson Hall. A corresponding Milner exhibit is being coordinated with the help of Professor of Art History Justin Wadlow of the University of Picardie-Jules Verne (France) and the National University of Vietnam in Hanoi.

Baloup has published several graphic narratives devoted to Vietnamese and other groups in France and elsewhere from the colonial period to the present, including Le chemin de Tuan (Tuan’s Way) and Le choix de Hai (Hai’s Choice). He has authored two biographical works, Quitter Saigon: Mémoires de Viet Kieu (Leaving Saigon: Memories of Viet Kieu) and Little Saigon: Mémoires de Viet Kieu (2012), which respectively tell the stories of Vietnamese emigrants to France and the United States.

The talk is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation, Milner Library, MECCPAC, a Dean of Students Diversity Initiative; and the departments of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; History; and English.

A look at The Great War, 100 years later

image of Jay Winter

Jay Winter

Emmy-award winner and Yale University Professor of History Jay Winter will speak about World War I and its impact on the globe. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale, will give a talk titled The Great War 100 Years after: A Transnational Approach at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary. His many works on World War I include Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18; The Great War and the British People; The Fear of Population Decline; The Experience of World War I; Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History and 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century.

The talk is sponsored by Illinois State’s Department of History and Office of the President, the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the ISU Foundation Fund.

Picking Cotton 

image of Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson

Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson was a 22-year-old college student when she was raped. After she wrongly picked out Ronald Cotton as her attacker, he spent 11 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him.

Devastated that her actions led to the imprisonment of an innocent man, Thompson reached out to Cotton to apologize, and in an act of true generosity, he forgave her. Their unlikely friendship and bond became the basis for the New York Times best-selling book, Picking Cotton. Thompson and Cotton travel the country, speaking out in favor of DNA testing and working to protect the wrongfully convicted by sharing their personal stories of hope and redemption.

The two will speak at Illinois State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in the Prairie Room in the Bone Student Center, with a book signing at Barnes and Noble bookstore at the Bone.

The talk is sponsored by the College of Applied Science and Technology, the Harold K. Sage Fund and the Illinois State University Foundation.

More information on all speakers can be found on the Speaker Series website.