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Faculty Virtual Lecture Series on Social Justice

Save the dates in April 2021 for a new faculty lecture series. Three Salem State faculty share insights on current issues from different areas of specialization. All three talks share a core theme--a concern with social justice.

All talks will be held virtually. Each one-hour event will consist of a presentation followed by a question and answer period and is open to the general public. Faculty are welcome to invite their students to attend. Registration will be required and that information will be posted here soon. The series is co-sponsored by the Center for Research and Creative Activities and the Berry Library.

The 2021 series organizer is Steve Young, Phd, Professor, Geography and Sustainability Department
Interim Coordinator, Geo-Information Sciences Graduate Program

The Problem with Community and Diversity in White Spaces

Miguel Montalva Barba
April 6, 7-8pm

Barba will discuss how ‘community’ and ‘diversity’ become activated in white spaces based on current research. In particular, he highlights findings from interviews with white residents of a borough in Boston that show how racism becomes activated to create and maintain difference, even in progressive spaces. This conversation is meaningful because it shows the type of work need to advance racial equity, as it is not enough to have progressive politics. At the center of this talk is questioning what stories white residents tell themselves to rationalize systemic racial inequality.

Miguel Montalva Barba is an Assistant Professor for sociology and Faculty-in-Residence at Salem State University. As an undocumented and queer immigration rights activist, Miguel’s background informs his teaching, research, and engagement within and outside the university. His work aims to rattle sociology’s foundations from its white supremacist core to address social issues.


The Geography of Environmental Injustice in New England

Marcos Luna
April 15, 7-8pm

Co-sponsored with the Earth Day Planning Committee

Environmental burdens, like noxious industry and pollution, and environmental amenities, like open space and affordable transportation, are not distributed randomly or equitably across New England. Despite demographic and economic differences, every state in the region exhibits a common pattern of environmental inequities that puts the most vulnerable communities at greatest risk while shielding the most privileged. This presentation will summarize recent research on the geography of environmental inequities across New England and how these inequities relate to both the history and contemporary reality of race and class-based inequities and discrimination.

Dr. Marcos Luna is a Professor of Geography & Sustainability at Salem State University. His research focus is on environmental justice and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to the analysis of social and environmental inequities. He works with community groups throughout the greater Boston region, as well local and state policy makers, on issues ranging from transportation equity to energy justice to climate change adaptation. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for GreenRoots, Inc. an environmental justice organization based in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Pandemics, Climate Change, and Social and Racial Justice

Avi Chomsky
April 27, 7-8pm

Co-sponsored with the Earth Day Planning Committee

In the current political climate, debates about COVID-19 and about climate change have pitted denialists against those who accept the realities of science and its ability to study, explain, and solve these problems. But while science can provide information about the physical realities of pandemics and climate change, it doesn’t address the political, social, and economic causes of these crises. Chomsky argues that science is not enough; we need to explore how the very same social and economic structures that entrench inequality are also at the root of both emerging pandemics like COVID-19 and of the climate crisis we are facing.

Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her books include Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration (forthcoming 2021); Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (Beacon Press, 2014; Mexican edition, 2014), A History of the Cuban Revolution (2011, 2nd ed. 2015), Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class (2008), They Take Our Jobs! And Twenty Other Myths about Immigration (2007; U.S. Spanish edition 2011, Cuban edition 2013), and West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870-1940 (1996). She has also co-edited several anthologies including Organizing for Power: Building a Twenty-First Century Labor Movement in Boston (forthcoming 2021) The People behind Colombian Coal: Mining, Multinationals and Human Rights/Bajo el manto del carbón: Pueblos y multinacionales en las minas del Cerrejón, Colombia (2007), The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (2003, 2nd edition 2019) and Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean (1998). She has been active in Latin America solidarity and immigrants’ rights movements for several decades.

Center for Research and Creative Activities
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