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April 18, 2001

Symposium Revives University's
Radical Past

Professors, scholars and artists at California State University, Sacramento plan to deconstruct and redefine the concept of unity through discussions, lectures and performances at two-day "Writers and Thinkers Symposium," 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday, May 3 and Friday, May 4. All events are free and will be held in the University Union.

The symposium is part of the University's Year of Unity and revives a tradition of similar events held on campus more than 20 years ago.

"Back in the late 1970s, CSUS held three similar symposia, but those focused more on developments in African American, Chicano, Latino, Asian American and Native American art and thoughts. In that sense, the 1970s symposia had a narrow scope," Olivia Castellano, CSUS English professor and co-chair of the symposium planning committee says.

This year's symposium's theme is "The Discourse of Tolerance, Difference and Other: Examining the Sign Called Unity." Participants hope to foster the idea of understanding diversity beyond the traditional borders of art and academics.

"It is an ambitious theme, yet it embraces the spirit of dialogue, conversation and exchange of ideas that we believe is at the core of the Year of Unity," Castellano says. "Our examining of ideas at the symposium will involve serious analysis, an undoing, a dismantling of basic premises and assumptions in order to arrive at new, hopefully more open-minded understanding, a willingness to think beyond stereotypes in hopes that hate crime and hate speech will cease to exist."

CSUS designated 2000-01 as the Year of Unity in wake of last year's hate letters and bomb threats, to re-enforce its commitment to promote an environment of tolerance, understanding and appreciation of the Capital Region's richly diverse society.

"As the culminating event of the Year of Unity, the planning committee felt that we should embrace the idea of unity, but from a discursive angle. That is, we propose examining the concept of unity as a floating signifier, an unfixed sign. In essence, we began to examine the work we ourselves do in the academy. We want to look at unity from an interdisciplinary perspective, to peel off the layers of the superficiality that often surround and suffocate these buzz words," Castellano says.

The symposium will include lectures, performances, panel discussions and presentations. For a complete list of events please see attached schedule or call (916) 278-4433 extension 119. Media assistance is available by contacting the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

WRITERS AND THINKERS SYMPOSIUM "THE DISCOURSE OF TOLERANCE, DIFFERENCE, AND 'OTHER': EXAMINING THE SIGN CALLED UNITY"

Thursday, May 3

9 - 10 a.m. Coffee and refreshments, University Union Hinde Auditorium.

10 - 10:15 a.m. Opening comments, President Donald R. Gerth and Provost Bernice Bass de Martinez, University Union Hinde Auditorium.

10:15 - 10:30 a.m. Introduction of symposium planning committee, Robert Arellanes, special assistant to the president, and comments by CSUS professors Mark Hennelly, Otis Scott and dean of Regional and Continuing Education Alice Tom. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Keynote lecture, "The Body in the Box: Communicating Across Cultures," Juan-Bruce Novoa, introduction by CSUS professor Olivia Castellano. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

11:30 - 12:30 p.m. Selected student and faculty respond to Novoas presentation, University Union Hinde Auditorium.

12:30 - 2 p.m. Lunch, University Union Restaurant.

2 - 3:00 p.m. Summarization of the activities and re-focus on the symposium's theme, CSUS professors Tom Pyne, Otis Scott and Sheree Meyer. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

3 - 4:30 p.m. Panel discussion, "Hate Crime/Hate Speech," University Union Forest Suite.

Panel discussion, "The Multicultural Classroom: The Pedagogy of Tolerance," University Union Lobby Suite.

4:45 - 6 p.m. Panel discussion, "The Students' Voices: Moving Beyond Stereotype," University Union Forest Suite.

6 - 7 p.m. Dinner Break.

7 - 8 p.m. Reception, University Union Restaurant.

8 - 10 p.m. Presentation, San Francisco performance artist Holly Hughes, introduction by CSUS professor Doug Rice. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

Friday, May 4

9 - 9:30 a.m. Coffee and refreshments. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Panel discussion, "The Issue of Tolerance from a Spiritual Perspective." University Union Hinde Auditorium.

10:30 - 12:30 a.m. Lecture and book signing, "Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America," author William Wong. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

12:30 - 2 p.m. Lunch.

2 - 3:30 p.m. Presentation, "New Directions in African American Theatre," William Parker, Keith Aytch, Thomas Ellis, James Wheatley. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

3:30 - 4 p.m. Student panel discussion. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

4 - 5:30 p.m. Panel discussion "Tolerance and Difference in the Arts: Theatre, Dance, Music: Art in New Directions," CSUS professors James Utz, Roberto Pomo, Linda Goodrich, Ricardo Favela, Elaine O'Brien, Deborah Pittman and others. University Union Hinde Auditorium.

8 - 10 p.m. Performance, actress Wilma Bonet, introduction by chair of CSUS theatre and dance department Roberto Pomo, University Union Hinde Auditorium.




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