Equality Matters, a Diversity Symposium at William Woods University

Differences can define us, but equality unites us. With that in mind, William Woods University is hosting the second annual Equality Matters: Conversations on Gender and Race symposium on February 13 – 17, with a speaker line-up focusing on how gender and race have worked together to shape the American dream of equality for all.

“These issues go to the core of how people view themselves and their place in the world,” says Dr. Shawn Hull, director of advancement and a former history professor at William Woods, who is leading the symposium committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students. “Other people may see them differently, but the only way to make progress is to have these types of conversations.”

Former associate professor of Spanish at William Woods, Dr. Mary Mosley, made this symposium possible through a generous donation. “My hope is that William Woods can become known as a leader in addressing these important social issues — a university that is not afraid to confront the country’s most pressing problems,” she shares.

Vickie Finn, a Political/Legal Studies junior from De Soto, Missouri, is also on the committee and thinks this is a great opportunity for students. “By attending symposium events, I hope other students gain an understanding about ideas outside their norm — that it gives them something to think about,” she says.

As last year’s symposium focused on feminism and race, many of this year’s speakers will discuss the intersection of masculinity and race. “There isn’t one stereotypical role that men have to follow,” says Finn. “It’s so much more varied.”

The events are free and open to the public. In addition to Dr. Mosley’s support, donations for this event were made by CARD-V, the Fulton State Hospital Foundation, Well Read Books, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Mid-MO.

The symposium events include:


Monday, February 13

Noon, Library Auditorium: Steven Watts, University of Missouri, “JFK and the Masculine Mystique: The Case of James Bond”
Watts is a professor of American intellectual and cultural history at Mizzou. His talk, derived from his new book, will discuss the connections between John F. Kennedy and James Bond. (This event is also part of the WWU history department’s Hail to the Chief lecture series.)

4 p.m. ­­to 5 p.m., Kemper Art Building: Reception for Steve Estes, Sonoma State University
Come meet the keynote speaker before the event.

7 p.m., Library Auditorium: Steve Estes, Sonoma State University, “I am a Man! Manhood and the Civil Rights Movement,” Keynote
In the keynote event of the symposium, Dr. Steve Estes, historian, educator, and author, will show how masculinity was central to the Civil Rights Movement, as he examines how activists and segregationists alike sought to defend their understanding of what it means to be a man.


Tuesday, February 14

Noon, Ivy Room below Tucker Dining Hall: Mihaela Britt, Britt Immigration Law, LLC, “Gender, Race and the Immigration System”
Britt, a Columbia, Missouri-based immigration lawyer who specializes in higher education, will focus on the benefits and rights of non-immigrant and immigrant families, with an overview of the new executive orders, and what they mean.

5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Mildred Cox Gallery at the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts: Opening Reception for Equality Matters Art Exhibit
This exhibit (which will run from February 13 – 25) explores participating artists’ understanding of how issues of gender and race influence contemporary culture. 


Wednesday, February 15

7 p.m., Cutlip Auditorium: Jackson Katz, “Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help”
Katz, an educator, author, filmmaker, and cultural theorist, known for his work in gender violence prevention education and critical media literacy, will present on the growing global movement of men working to promote gender equality and prevent gender violence. Reception to follow.


Thursday, February 16

Noon, Ivy Room: Steve Hageman, Washburn University, “Mass Incarceration and Black Masculinity”
This student success lecturer at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and former history instructor at William Woods, will share how race, masculinity, and criminal justice are interwoven in modern American history.

7 p.m., Library Auditorium: Stephanie Wells, William Woods, “Girls Don’t Count”
The author and associate professor of English will discuss her three upcoming novels (primarily based in the Ozarks), which reflect the history and effort of the 1970s Women’s Movement and illustrate the desperation of women to gain the freedom to govern their own bodies and become educated citizens.

Friday, February 17

Noon, Ivy Room: Student Round Table Discussion
Visit with other students at the round table event to discuss various thoughts and ideas gathered from the past week’s events. (Open to William Woods students only.)

For more information about the symposium, call 573-592-4220.