- A prominent Chinese human rights activist will share his experience
as a political prisoner in his homeland Feb. 11 in one of five University
of Southern Mississippi University Forum events set for the Spring
Harry Wu spent
19 years incarcerated by the Chinese government in the "Bamboo
Gulag" as a political prisoner, which he describes in his international
bestseller, Bitter Winds. He will recount his experience
in a presentation, "Made in China: Human Rights, Politics and
the Global Marketplace."
A variety of
topics are included in the spring forum series, which begins Jan.
21 with a presentation by Michael Shermer, said forum director Dr.
Amy Chasteen Miller. The Tuesday evening programs are sponsored
by the Southern Miss Honors College.
very pleased to be able to host a wide range of speakers this semester,"
Miller said. "I'm sure that all students and faculty, as well
as people in the community, will be intrigued by our lineup of speakers
this semester. Whatever your interest is, whether it be science,
human rights, music, gender and family issues, Native American issues,
or all of the above, this forum series should be very appealing."
Michael Shermer, "Why Do People Believe Weird Things?
Science and Pseudoscience in America." Shermer is the author
of numerous books on science, history and culture, and is one of
the more highly visible figures in public discussions of science
and society in America today. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic
magazine and a monthly columnist for Scientific American.
In his work, Shermer explores a wide range of topics including
paranormal beliefs, Holocaust denial movements and science lessons
for children. Shermer received a bachelor's in psychology from Pepperdine
University, an master's in experimental psychology from California
State University, Fullerton, and a doctorate in the history of science
from Claremont Graduate School. Since his creation of Skeptic
magazine, the Skeptics Society and the Skeptics Lecture series at
Cal Tech, he has appeared on such shows as 20/20, Dateline,
The Oprah Winfrey Show, and other programs as a skeptic of
unusual and extraordinary claims.
11 Harry Wu, "Made in China: Human Rights, Politics,
and the Global Marketplace." Since his release as a political
prisoner, Wu has returned to China to document human rights atrocities
in prison camps, and he has twice testified before the U.S. Congress
on these abuses. In his international bestseller, Bitter Winds,
Wu describes his own imprisonment, from scavenging for food to enduring
nightmarish solitary confinement. Throughout these experiences,
Wu made a commitment to retain his dignity and furthered his commitment
to improving the lives of those working in China's forced labor
camps. In his most recent book, Troublemaker: One Man's Crusade
Against China's Cruelty, Wu explains his willingness to return
to China and his efforts to promote human rights.
25 Three Generations, "A Historical Look at African-American
Spirituals and Traditional Music." Three Generations is a group
of three men representing three distinct generations and three perspectives
of American folk songs and spirituals. Benjamin Matthews, founder
of Opera Ebony, is recognized as one of the leading interpreters
of African-American religious folk music today. Robert Sims, an
American Traditions Gold Medal Winner, is highly regarded for his
moving interpretations of African-American spirituals in concerts
around the world. The third "generation," Kenneth Overton,
is a young baritone who has performed in numerous operas around
the nation. The lecture by the Three Generations is featured as
part of Southern Miss's African-American History Month celebration
and is co-sponsored by the College of the Arts and Partners for
the Arts. This project is supported in part by funding from the
Mississippi Arts commission, a state agency, and in part, from the
National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Stephanie Coontz, "The Way We Really Are: Coming
to Terms with America's Changing Families and the New Roles of Women."
Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State
College in Olympia, Washington, and is the national co-chair of
the Council on Contemporary Families. She is the author of six books
on the history of the family including The Way We Never
Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992) and The
Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms With America's Changing Families
(1997). Coontz has written for the Washington Post, the New York
Times and popular magazines such as Vogue, and she has appeared
on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show
and CNN's Crossfire. Coontz also has testified about her
research before the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and
Families in Washington, D.C., and has addressed audiences across
America and Europe. Coontz currently is working on a book on the
history of marriage. Coontz's lecture is part of a series of events
in recognition of Women's History Month. April 15 Michael
Yellowbird, ""Cowboys and Indians: Images of Indigenous
Peoples in Popular Culture." Yellowbird, a citizen of the Sahnish
and Hidatsa First Nations, is an associate professor in the School
of Social Work at Arizona State University. He has written extensively
on political and cultural issues related to indigenous peoples in
North America. He also teaches classes on various topics related
to diversity in social work practice. Yellowbird's assessment and
evaluation practice has been in health, social service and educational
programs that serve First Nation communities. He has been employed
by the Ho Chuck Nation in Wisconsin to assess and evaluate their
tribal child welfare programs (1999). He also was employed by the
CRESPAR Project to assess retention of students, and service and
relationship congruence between service providers in the Gila River
Indian community, Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, Kansas)
and Pennsylvania State University.
Forum is a lecture series designed to provoke intellectual thought
and discussion in the university community and in the Hattiesburg
area. The presentations, all at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays in Bennett Auditorium,
are free and open to the public. For more information on the series,
call (601) 266-5762.