Wayne State University

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Fall Symposiam

The Fall Symposium is held once a year in the fall.  It focuses on a topic of contemporary significance in the humanities and arts. Internal and external speakers are chosen from abstracts submitted to the Center’s Advisory Board. In addition, the Center invites distinguished keynoters who are experts in the area addressed by the theme.

Explication of the upcoming Symposium themed "Civility and Incivility"

"The word civility summons images of manners and polite discourse but in both public and private spaces, the concept of "civility' is challenged through incidents of name calling, shadowy dealings, sexual harassment, or physical confrontations. Where is the line drawn between heated disagreement and slander? Between calling attention to an injustice and inciting violence? Even as notions of civility are enshrined in Western liberal democracies, critical theorists and indigenous activists (among others) point out that such notions often serve to privilege elite constitutents, and further marginalize or disenfranchise subaltern actors. Accordingly, we have seen how a number of contemporary social movements focused on diversity, social justice, and inclusion harness what is seemingly "incivility" to advocate for social change (e.g., Black Lives Matter, WTO protests, Occupy Wall Street). Research on civility is thus incredibly nuanced, reaches many disciplines, and inspires some intriguing pairings such as civility and democracy, civility in the workplace, civility and gender/sex, civility and social movements, civility and violence and civility and design."