University of Minnesota
literacy & rhetorical studies
center for writing

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spiral staircaseSpeaker Series

The interdisciplinary graduate minor in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies sponsors a Speaker Series to engage the University community in rich discussions about the uses of language, reading, and writing. Please see the Past Speaker Series page for earlier presentations.


2018 Speaker Series

The LRS Graduate Minor is pleased to be a co-sponsor for an event this fall:

Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress

a symposium presented by the RIGS (Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) Initiative at the University of Minnesota

Thursday, November 1, and Friday, November 2, 2018
9:15 am–5:00 pm
Cowles Auditorium
301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

free and open to the public

Download the printable flyer

Register here.


The following description is from the event webpage:

The RIGS (Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) Initiative at the University of Minnesota, along with key partners, will host a two-day symposium on November 1-2, 2018 on “Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress.” This set of events will bring together multiple disciplines and colleges across the University of Minnesota and local communities to think through the challenges of and the possibilities for repair, atonement, return, and/or apology as potential ways to address some of the foundational wrongs of the US that have shaped longstanding institutional structures and inequalities. We will bring front and center a difficult and historically “nonstarter” topic to invite wide-ranging conversation around the politics, policies, and roadblocks around seeking atonement for historical and ongoing injustices. We will question the impoverishment of our imaginations when it comes to reparations for African Americans and land claims for native peoples in particular, as well as across multiple marginalized social groups.

In addition, we are interested in exploring whether and to what extent the rubric of “reparations” addresses the continuing inequalities experienced by indigenous communities and multiple communities of color. Using a critical and comparative approach to reparations, repatriation, and redress, and engaging with local communities, we hope to catalyze thought around potential strategies to address systemic racial inequality. We will have four innovative, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged panels on the following themes:

  1. Models for Restorative Action
  2. Universities and Historical Injustices
  3. Critical & Comparative Reparations, Repatriation, and Redress
  4. The Case for Reparations

We are bringing together leading scholars, thinkers, and advocates via panel to our University's first-ever interdisciplinary symposium on reparations, repatriation, and redress.

This event will build on critical momentum at universities nation-wide and from local communities, and we truly hope that you will be a central part of it. While a number of universities have recently begun to examine their imbrication with the brutal institution of slavery, few universities have concretely addressed the effects of foundational inequalities on the wider communities within which the universities exist. In this light, this event will work closely with advocates from grassroots organizations in Rondo (a historically black neighborhood in St. Paul, displaced by urban planning and highways) seeking place-based remedies, as well as with activists in the contemporary reclaiming of Native lands, such as the the restoration of the name Bde Maka Ska to the lake formerly known as Lake

This event is free and open to the public. Please follow this link to register for the symposium. We will have coffee, tea and snacks available all day; lunch is reserved for speakers and facilitators.

Thank you to our generous partners for their co-sponsorship of this symposium: The College of Liberal Arts, Office for Public Engagement, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, The Human Rights Program, The Institute for Advanced Study, Immigration History and Research Center, Institute for Global Studies, Historical Injustices Working Group. Center for Writing's Literacy and Rhetorical Studies (LRS) Speaker Series, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota Libraries and the following Departments: Philosophy, History, English, Geography, Political Science, Art History, Religious Studies, Sociology and African American and African Studies.

Click here for the schedule.


For other literacy- and rhetorical studies-related events at the University of Minnesota and locally, check out these websites:

Immigration History Research Center events (College of Liberal Arts)

Thursdays at Four (Institute for Advanced Study)

Events (School of Law)

Events (University Libraries)