The Illinois State University Speaker Series at Illinois State will cover diverse topics from Black Lives Matter to making healthy habits stick. Speakers will include a former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, and a scholar creating a documentary about life for LGBTQ individuals in the rural Midwest.

The Illinois State University Speaker Series 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 talks are free and open to the public.

Health and change in the workplace

image of Michael O’Donnell

Michael O’Donnell

The series will begin Wednesday, September 28, with the founder and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Health Promotion Michael O’Donnell, who will give the Health Sciences Nolte Lecture at 5 p.m. in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center.

His talk, “AMSO POSSE2:  A Framework to Develop Effective Organization and Individual Health Behavior Change Programs,” will explore why health promotion programs in the workplace often fail.

The founder and chairman emeritus of Health Promotion Advocates, O’Donnell created the non-profit policy group to integrate health promotion strategies into national policy. Health Promotion Advocates was successful in developing six provisions that became law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Black Lives Matter and education

image of Jesse Hagopian

Jesse Hagopian

On Friday, September 30, teacher and activist Jesse Hagopian will tie the Black Lives Matter campaign to education with his talk “Black Education Matters” at 5 p.m. in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center. Hagopian will discuss the role U.S. education plays in maintaining institutional racism and the school-to-prison-pipeline for young black people. Pushing back against reformers’ work to “close the achievement gap,” Hagopian looks to the beginning of a new social movement for racial justice in the United States. An open forum with Hagopian will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, in Milner Library.

Hagopian is an associate editor for the social justice education publication, Rethinking Schools magazine, the Seattle Fellow for The Progressive magazine, and the editor of the book, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing.

Critical thinking in a neoliberal age

image of Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita, an author and scholar who once stood at the center of a national controversy on academic freedom, will give the annual Bone Lecture at Illinois State University. His talk, titled “Critical Thinking in a Neoliberal Age,” will be at 6 p.m. Monday, October 10, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center. Salaita currently holds the Edward W. Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beruit. His career attracted national media attention when the University of Illinois withdrew its offer of employment as a tenured professor over Salaita’s controversial tweets on the 2014 Israel/Gaza conflict.

Salaita is the author of Uncivil Rights: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom; Israel’s Dead Soul and The Uncultured Wars, Arabs, Muslims and the Poverty of Liberal Thought. He won a 2007 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for writing the book, Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where It Comes from and What it Means for Politics Today. His forthcoming book is titled, Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine.

Moving from dictatorship to democracy

image Ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi

Ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi

Ambassador Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi, who worked to help Iraq transition from dictatorship to democracy, will be the keynote speaker for International Education Week at Illinois State University. His talk, “From Dictatorship to Democracy?” will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 11, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Ambassador al-Istrabadi was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations from 2004-2007. Prior to his appointment, al-Istrabadi served as legal advisor to the Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs during the negotiations for the U.N. Security Council resolution that recognized the reassertion of Iraq of its sovereignty. He was also the principal legal drafter of the Iraqi interim constitution of 2004.

Exploring the U.S. Presidential elections
Voter suppression, the culture wars, the media, and the courts all have gained attention in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. A series of talks titled “Super Tuesdays” will explore their connections, beginning October 11. The four-part series of presentations and discussions will be held on successive Tuesday evenings leading up to the 2016 presidential election. All talks begin at 6 p.m., and are free and open to the public. The evenings will feature brief presentations by two faculty speakers and a moderated discussion between those speakers and community participants.

image form elections , donkey and elephantThe talks include:
October 11—“The History of Voter Suppression in America” with Assistant Professor of Art Vanessa Schulman and Professor of History Amy Wood at the Center for Visual Arts, room 110, 401 S. School Street, Normal.

October 18—“The Role of the Courts” with Associate Professor of Politics and Government Meghan Leonard and Professor of Criminal Justice Michael Gizzi at the Center for Visual Arts, room 110.

October 25—“Media and the Modern Candidate” with Assistant Professor of Politics and Government Kerri Milita and Assistant Professor of Communication Rebecca Hayes at the Center for Visual Arts, room 110.

November 1—“Modern Political Movements” with Professor of History Andrew Hartman and Professor of Politics and Government Lane Crothers at University Galleries, 11 Uptown Circle #103, Normal. The evening will include the premiere performance of School of Music faculty Roy Magnuson’s composition, “it wasn’t supposed to be like this,” by Justin Vickers (tenor) and Geoffrey Duce (piano). A reception will follow.

In Plain(s) Sight

image of Carly Thomsen

Carly Thomsen

Scholar Carly Thomsen will screen part of her new documentary In Plain(s) Sight and give a talk titled “Queering the Rural: Visibility, Politics, and the Production of Place” at 12:30 p.m. Monday, December 5, in the Illinois State University LGBT/Queer Studies and Services Institute, located in the Professional Development Annex at 207 S. Main St., Normal. The talk will be the final lecture in the ISU QUEERtalks series, which features new scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and queer studies.

Thomsen, an assistant professor of gender, sexuality, and feminist studies at Middlebury College, will discuss her research with LGBTQ-identified people living in the rural Midwest, and will screen part of her new documentary-in-progress that is based on her book project, Unbecoming: Visibility Politics and Queer Rurality.

For full biographies, and more information, go to Illinois State University Speaker Series.