Democracy 101: A Series of Critical Conversations


This series of co-curricular lectures, panel discussions and workshops focuses on the idea and practice of democracy. 

We welcome faculty, staff, students and community partners to present. Possible topics may include: student activism, how to run for office, the history of social movements, democratic values, the idea of commons, student civic development, the role of media in a democracy, how to organize for social change, and more!

LIB 100/201 approved and pizza will be provided.

Democracy 101: Deconstructing the American Dream - Winter 2020

Date:

Event:

Location(s):

Time:

January 15

What is the American Dream?

Join the CSLC for a screening of the 2018 film "American Creed"! Stick around after the film for a discussion on the American Dream to kick off our "Deconstructing the American Dream" series! 

Kirkhof Center

Area 51

6-8 PM

January 22

Democracy and the American Dream

Join us to unpack how the early years of our nation's founding shape our idea of the American Dream! Answer questions like "What are the pillars our democracy are built on?" "How do the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution shape our idea of the American Dream?" and "How does the Constitution benefit some and disenfranchise others?" Featuring faculty member Matt Roberts.

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

January 29

The Mythology of the American Dream

Learn about the history of the American Dream dating back to the 1930s, and uncover why the dream could never be a reality for all Americans during this interactive session hosted by GVSU History Professor Steve Tripp.

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

February 5

The First Americans: Native American History the American Dream

Join us to discuss how the disenfranchisement and erasure of Native American Tribes and culture have molded and propelled the myth of the American Dream. 

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

February 12

The Legacy of Slavery and the American Dream

This interactive session will unpack how the legacy of slavery created structural challenges with inhibiting the ability of Black Americans from fully pursuing the American Dream. Featuring presenters Sherry Johnson and Regis Fox from the English Department.  

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

February 19

Immigrants and the American Dream

Join us for a discussion that will focus on the history of immigration-- starting on Ellis Island in the late 1800's-- and how it has shaped, and continues to shape, our conception of being "American." Featuring presenter Scott Stabler from the History Department

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM 

February 26

Open Mic Night: What Does the American Dream Mean to You?

This intimate open-mic session invites students across GV to unplug think about the American Dream through spoken word, song, dance, etc. Co-sponsored by Recreation and Wellness and The Sociology Club.

Kirkhof Center

Area 51

6-8 PM

March 11

The Opportunity Gap

Join us for this interactive session to explore the opportunity gap in America and how it prevents many in our country from achieving the American Dream. Featuring presenter Jennifer Stewart from the Sociology Department.

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

March 18

The Prison Industrial Complex and the American Dream-- CANCELLED 

Join us for a  conversation about the Prison Industrial Complex, how it came to be, and how it contributes to the opportunity gap that is central to the myth of the American Dream. We will welcome community activists Naka Sims and Reuben Ndjerareou.

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

March 25

White Nationalism as a Barrier to the American Dream-- CANCELLED

The American Dream was never for everyone. Not even for all white people. White Supremacy has and once again serves as a vicarious replacement for real social prosperity. How can we reformulate the American Dream into a vision of an inclusive and sustainable future? Featuring George Lundskow from the Sociology Department.

Mary Idema Pew Library Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

April 1

Raising Student Voices: Student Voter Engagement -- CANCELED

Join CSLC Democracy Fellows Jane Johnston and Sam Jacobs to learn how exercising your right to vote can help make our country a more representative democracy for all Americans striving to achieve the American Dream! 

 

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

April 8

Civic Courage: A Workshop -- CANCELED

In our last DEM101 session of the year, join us in a workshop to think about how you can practice civic courage as you pursue social change and contribute to your communities.

Mary Idema Pew Library

Multipurpose Room

6-8 PM

Resources on the American Dream:

Listen:

Scene On Season 4: The Land That Never Has Been Yet 

  • "Effectively retelling the story of the United States from its beginnings up to the present." 
  • Available on Spotify, Apple Music and anywhere podcasts are available

S4 E2: "The Excess of Democracy" 

Watch:

PBS: College Behind Bars

PBS: American Creed

Check out Democracy 101 presenter and GVSU History professor Steve Tripp's presentation on the Mythology of the American Dream

Have anything you want us to add to this list? Email it to us at service@gvsu.edu


Have an Idea for a Democracy 101 Event?

Do you have a question about democracy, civic life or student democratic participation that you would like to explore?

Are you interested in presenting or facilitating a workshop or a conversation about a current public issue?

Do you have an idea or a project that promotes civic life and democratic participation that you would like to share?

If so, please submit your idea here!


Check out some of our events from Fall 2019!

Panelists from our Youth Political Engagement panel

Panelists from our youth political engagement panel discussion pose for a picture after their session. 

A full room of students listen in on a panel discussion about PFAS in Michigan.

Students listen in on an important panel discussion on PFAS in Michigan. 

Relando Thompkins-Jones speaks to a group of students about the importance of free speech and inclusion.

Relando Thompkins-Jones joined a panel of GVSU faculty and staff to speak to a group of students about the importance of free speech and inclusion. 

Mindy Holohan speaks to students about media literacy

In an interactive session on media literacy, Mindy Holohan joined GVSU student Jane Johnston and GVSU Librarian Elizabeth Psyck in sharing skills and lessons on the topic. 

Students and local officials gathered to talk about strategies for young women in leadership positions at Elect Her.

At 'Elect Her,' students and local officials gathered to talk about strategies for young women in leadership positions. 


Check out some videos from past DEM 101 events!

Didn't make it? Don't worry - you can still dive in to Democracy 101 by watching the videos below!

The Mythology of the American Dream

Democracy and the American Dream

Student Media and Democratic Engagement

 

 

Why Democracy Needs the News

Human Rights and the Promise of Democracy

Media Literacy and You

PFAS in Michigan

Educating Toward Direct Democracy

Hitler's Rise to Power