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CSULB Professors hope to ‘Reclaim Democracy’ through teach-ins

Professors respond to election with a monthly educational series.

Lola Olvera, Staff Writer

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In response to the recent presidential election, faculty from the College of Liberal Arts are presenting their “Reclaiming Democracy” teach-in series, hoping to provide a space for students to educate and express themselves on current political issues.

Starting Tuesday and continuing monthly through April, the teach-ins will feature ten-minute talks by three speakers from the College of Liberal Arts before leaders facilitate discussion among groups of students on the Speaker’s Platform.

“The purpose of the teach-ins … is to create a dialogue on issues of concern to people on campus,” said Chris Burnett, a professor in the Journalism Department, who helped organize the  March teach-in on “Mass Media and Democracy.”

“There was a lot of concern about the result of last November’s election, but these teach-ins are designed to transcend the election results and create an atmosphere of student involvement in the political process,” Burnett said. “The first step, however, is to inform students on the key issues that will be debated over the next four years and give students avenues for involvement.”
To start, Tuesday’s session is “Overcoming Exclusion, Discrimination and Oppression,” hosted by professor of anthropology Ron Loewe.  This session will touch on reproductive rights, voting rights, racism, immigration, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and have speakers on each topic.

Jeff Blutinger, a professor of Jewish Studies, will lead the discussion on Anti-Semitism. He agrees that the teach-ins are both “ … an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn about these issues and [a way] to express how they feel about what is happening … [this will give them] either tools to understand what’s happening or to resist it.”

Blutinger cites suppression of voting rights, restricted access to reproductive rights and “an explosion of prejudice towards Jews and Muslims” as just a few of the problems that have been exacerbated by November’s election.

“These issues are important because they directly affect the lives of students and their family members,” Blutinger said.

Also speaking on Tuesday will be Stewart Chang of the Asian & Asian American Studies department, who will speak on racism and immigration; Amanda Trefethen of the Philosophy department, who will speak on reproductive and voting rights; and Yousef Baker of the International Studies department, who will speak on Islamophobia.

Future teach-ins will focus on the history and ideologies of fascism, freedom of speech and press and how communities can organize, activate and resist.

Each teach-in will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Speaker’s Platform in front of the bookstore. The event is open to everyone in the community, regardless of their background or political beliefs.

“We want everyone involved in these events,” says Burnett. “Whether they voted for Trump, Clinton or one of the other candidates. No one should feel uncomfortable attending.”


1 Comment

One Response to “CSULB Professors hope to ‘Reclaim Democracy’ through teach-ins”

  1. JK on January 31st, 2017 9:20 am

    You should rename the effort “Reclaiming America” because that is what just happened. I urge you to research the fall of the roman empire where they tried in vain to become an open empire.

    Did you know: The USA is a “constitutionally limited representative democratic republic”

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