Original music, podcasts, photography, academic papers, and more all could be part of the first of a two-year project focused on various identities and conflicts. In addition to presentations and discussion, a digital archive from students’ submissions will be created as part of the symposium, ‘Identity and Resistance in Global Contexts' April 20 and 21st.
According to Alec Cattell, an instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature, “Getting our students to think about this, and noticing, ok people are different and sometimes identities are in conflict. What are we going to do about that? How do we approach that? I really feel it’s important to equip our students with tools to do that. Because we need to work on that.”
He and faculty from four other colleges are collaborating to put on the symposium. They hope to address challenges related to population and conflict.
Cattell says that each of us have an individual identity. But other identities are also important, like our collective, cultural and national ones, to name a few. And all of these are important to how we understand ourselves and others.
University students, he says, benefit enormously through learning how to negotiate differences.
“The university experience should offer them the opportunity to develop those skills for themselves to meet people who are different—people from different demographics and people from other fields—and learn to interact and communicate, learn to reflect and take some object distance but also claim their subjective experience. I think that’s something that should be part of the university experience,” he says.
Scholarship money worth $2,250 will be awarded to three presenters. The symposium is being supported by Texas Tech’s Center for Global Communication.
The symposium offers students a chance to build their resumes, network with others addressing similar themes and share five meals together during the two-day event. There will be a reception and exhibition April 20 and a free performance of Martha Redbone’s “Bone Hill” on April 21.
Symposium organizers have received more than 90 student submissions. About 250 undergraduates from across Tech’s campus are contributing digital objects to the archive.
“Hopefully they’ll have an experience that will influence them beyond the symposium as well,” he says. “We may have a small group, we may have a hundred people. But I think that would be good enough for the first year.”
The goals of the symposium align with those of Texas Tech’s current Quality Enhancement Plan, Communicating in a Global Society. The university’s first QEP, from 2005 to 2010 was “Do the Right Thing: A Campus Conversation on Ethics.”
The current QEP started in 2015 as part of the university’s re-accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
“The goal of the symposium is the aspect of the project that really connects with those expected outcomes of the QEP—getting students to communicate in a global society. So that’s really, that’s hopefully what the symposium will achieve: getting the students to understand something from within their discipline and then make it understandable to someone outside of their discipline, keeping in mind that they will have a local audience at the symposium, you know they’ll have a physical local audience, but also that their work, after the symposium will become part of that archive.”
Students will develop communication skills in a variety of media that are appropriate to their disciplines and focus on developing them within a global context. And, with the symposium and archive, students will apply these communication skills in a range of situation with audiences, locally and globally.
“We’re trying to bring undergrads together to talk about one topic in kind of a sustained way across disciplines. So we’re talking about identity, resistance in global context. We’re also looking across time how people, different categories, different demographics have maybe identified, maybe have been in conflict. Maybe how certain identities have resisted oppression. Different things like that,” he says.