TACOMA, Wash. – “Simple moments of action, or inaction, can determine whether human and civil rights and justice are advanced or thwarted.”
This is the reminder offered by Dexter Gordon, professor of African American studies and communication studies, in an introduction to his upcoming Regester Lecture at University of Puget Sound. It is a call that has been heard often throughout history, heeded by some, and forgotten by others—but the need for it never diminishes.
Gordon’s talk titled “Race and Pedagogy: A Yearning …” is free and open to all, and will be held Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. in the Tahoma Room, Thomas Hall, on campus. A map of campus is below.
These “simple moments of action or inaction” often arise, Gordon says, when disturbing events related to race focus our attention on the need for justice and equity. “They are critical moments, and they afford us opportunities to learn how to see, hear, and attend to them, and benefit from their significant emergence,” he says.
Although such pivotal moments often take place on a national stage—as we have seen repeatedly in terms of shootings, assaults, and hate speech—they also are forged in our own backyard, Gordon adds.
The co-founder and director of Puget Sound’s Race and Pedagogy Institute will examine how such events relate to the Puget Sound campus community and to the work undertaken by the institute. The 15-year-old institute itself arose following a seminal moment on campus in 2002–03 that left concerned educators questioning how to deal with racial tensions.
“Engaged scholarship” was one of the paths they chose, and after a series of “brown bag” lunch discussions the Race & Pedagogy Program emerged. From a small beginning, it grew to deliver three national conferences, featuring speakers including Cornell West, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, Freeman Hrabowski, and Winona LaDuke, and multiple events involving youth, families, and community members in partnership with campus faculty, staff, and students.
In fall 2016 the program became the Race and Pedagogy Institute, indicating its scope, importance, and permanence on campus. Its aim, then and now, is to educate students and teachers at all levels to think critically about race and to act to eliminate racism. The group’s 2018 Race & Pedagogy National Conference will be held this fall, September 27–29.
The 45th Regester Lecture by Dexter Gordon promises to be an informative and inspiring evening. Audience members will be invited to ask questions at the end.
The John D. Regester Lecture series was established in 1965 to honor John Regester, who joined the Puget Sound faculty in 1924. The address is given by a member of the university who exemplifies the qualities of scholarship and intellectual integrity that professors and students have long associated with Regester, who taught philosophy and served as dean of the university and graduate school.
Dexter Gordon, Ph.D., explores the themes of public discourse, social theory, and social, intellectual, and political history through his research and writing. He directs the university's African American Studies program and leads the Race and Pedagogy Institute. He is the author of Black Identity: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalism (2003) and is a sought-after public speaker and community leader, with roles in the social justice groups The Conversation and Tacoma Pierce County Black Collective. Gordon was a founding member and head of research of the Tacoma Civil Rights Project, and he served on the Washington State Legislature’s panel that produced the report A Plan to Close the Achievement Gap for African American Students, which was submitted to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Gordon earned a B.A. from Jamaica Theological Seminary; an M.A. from Wheaton College in Illinois; and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.
For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus: pugetsound.edu/directions
For accessibility information please contact email@example.com or 253.879.3931, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.
Press photos of Dexter Gordon can be downloaded from pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.
Photos on page: From top right: Dexter Gordon; Gordon lecture in the rotunda; Angela Davis introduced by Gordon at the 2014 National Race and Pedagogy Conference. (Last two photos by Ross Mulhausen)
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