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Rosenfield Program

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Education in the U.S.

J. KozolJonathan Kozol, a nationally recognized expert on education and New York Times bestselling author, will deliver a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, in Herrick Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kozol has devoted most of his life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is considered by many to be the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.

Kozol’s lecture will address the continuing and growing resegregation of minority children in America’s schools, and how the rising charter school movement actually exacerbates these trends. He also will explain why meeting the needs of poor students of all races is fundamental to the future of our country. In addition, he will discuss why his work matters in predominantly white communities like Grinnell.

 “Mr. Kozol has broad and deep experience with the United States education system, and it will be a privilege to hear his insights,” says Grinnell College Life Trustee Penny Bender Sebring ’64. “I am pleased to welcome him to Grinnell.”

Sebring is co-founder of the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions program, which sponsors Kozol’s lecture along with the Office of the President and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

After graduating from Harvard and studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in the 1960s, Kozol taught school in a poor black neighborhood of Boston. He won the 1968 National Book Award for his first book, Death at an Early Age, which was based on the journal kept during his first year as a teacher.  

His 1995 bestseller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor Kozol shares with Langston Hughes (1954 winner) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1955).

Ten years later, Kozol exposed the conditions he found in nearly 60 public schools in 30 different districts in The Shame of the Nation, which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list the week it was published. In this book, he concluded that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

His latest book, Fire in the Ashes, has drawn widespread critical acclaim. This book tracks inner-city children from infancy to young adulthood, showcasing stories of triumph and tragedy.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

Activist Poet Malcolm London

Spoken-word artist Malcolm London has been called the “Gil Scott-Heron of this generation.”

The young activist visits campus Saturday, Nov. 1, for two events.

  • At 3 p.m., Grinnellians who recently took part in a rally in Feguson, Mo. join London for a group discussion in the Joe Rosenfield Center '25, Room 101.
  • At 7:30 p.m., London performs his spoken-word poetry in Bob’s Underground Café. 

Kevin Coval, head of Young Chicago Authors, says the young poet “is that rare and important breed of poet-activist who can engage in a civic conversation via his art.”

London appeared on PBS's TED Talks with John Legend and Bill Gates. He’s shared stages with actor Matt Damon and rapper Lupe Fiasco as a part of the The People Speak, Live! cast and also appears on season two of TVOne’s Verses & Flow. Malcolm’s work has been featured on national outlets including CBS, NPR, Huffington Post, The Root, and the Chicago Tribune.

His visit is co-sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership; the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights; and the Student Government Association.

A Century of War: Chris Hedges

Grinnell College students will have the chance to question a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist during the opening of “A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond.”

Chris HedgesChris Hedges spent two decades as a war correspondent, most of them with the New York Times. On Sept. 16, he will

  • Head a question and answer session at 4:15 p.m. in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts in Room 152. Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield Program, will moderate.
  • Present a talk, “War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center in Room 101.

“Since Mr. Hedges is a journalist who has covered many conflict zones, we thought students would learn from asking questions about his experience and his views on contemporary wars,” says Shuchi Kapila, director of the Center for Humanities.

Hedges’ visit is the first in the center’s yearlong symposium exploring the social, political, and cultural transformations brought about by World War I. The symposium marks the centenary of World War I and explores how the phenomenon of war continues to shape a culture of violence.

The topic of war deserves a thorough examination, Kapila says.

“So many people’s lives have been touched by World War I and World War II all over the world, and we live in an era where conflicts have emerged in many parts of the world, some of which are a legacy of the wars, so we have to continue to think about this topic,” Kapila says.

Hedges’ presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

The events are free and open to the public.

Rosenfield Symposium Explores Use of Drones

Drone use has become prolific, despite a lack of public knowledge and debate, says an expert who will speak during a symposium on drones and drone warfare.

“The issue of how drones are used, both in warfare and in domestic spaces, is one of the most vital social problems of our time,” says Heather Hayes, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Rhetoric Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.

The symposium features presentations by activists, scholars, and writers, hosted by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights. The event will be held Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-11 at the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The final event will be held in the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center’s fieldhouse.

Hayes will discuss “The Buzzing of the Drones: Circulating Violence from Waziristan to Washington.”

Americans have a gap in knowledge about drones, and secrecy shrouds U.S. drone programs, Hayes says.

“I believe most people don’t know the history of their creation and use, the rapid escalation of their technologies as part of the ‘global war on terror,’ and their disproportionate use on Arab populations around the world,” she says.

Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield program, says drones are an important topic in current affairs.

“Drones play a huge role in U.S. foreign and defense policy,” Purcell says. “They are on the cutting edge of technology, and they are also used for many creative purposes such as environmental conservation and agriculture.”

Hayes agrees, “The way that this technology is utilized will mark the next generation not only of weapons, but also of almost all other technologies that follow.”

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights and the Luce Program in Nations and the Global Environment.