Thursday, September 11, 2008

Democracy in St. Charles, with Bunny Wailer

The fragmented character of the St. Louis metropolitan area is a breeding ground for divisive political opportunism, which continues to hold us back (especially in the city), but it also means there are all sorts of things going on all over the place.

If you're the sort who doesn't mind crossing barriers - color lines, county lines, party lines, or rivers - there is so much to see and do here.

This brings us to "Democracy Days" at St. Charles Community College, an institution of which I was wholly ignorant until I sorted my mail yesterday.

“We have crucial election year topics that will inform and engage participants in the democratic process,” said Michael Kuelker, SCC professor of English and event organizer, who seems to be fighting the good fight out there in St. Charles County (and in Jamaica - check out his program listing for Monday).

Here is a selection of the good, free stuff going on out there next week. All presentations take place in Room 205 in the SCC Student Center, unless otherwise noted.

Monday, Sept. 15

11-11:50 a.m.
The Election of 1960
One of the closest and most exciting elections in American history was the contest in 1960 between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Hal Berry, SCC professor of history and theater, will dissect the election.

4-5:20 p.m.
Silence Means Consent: Gun Violence, Human Rights and Democracy in Jamaica
(In HUM 214)
Michael Kuelker, SCC professor of English, will speak on the interconnectedness of poverty, violence, democracy, and human rights in Jamaica. The presentation will draw from video interviews he conducted while on assignment for Amnesty International in 2007. Video footage includes Bunny Wailer and Queen Ifrica, as well as ordinary folks.

7-9 p.m.
What Film Propaganda Can Do to/for the State
(In SSB Auditorium)
Members of the SCC Global Studies Committee will explore the power and perils of propagandistic mythmaking through film. Clips will include Leni Riefenstahl's 1934 “Triumph of the Will” and Mikhail Kalatozov's 1964 “I Am Cuba.”

Tuesday, Sept. 16
10-11:20 a.m.
Thank You, Madam President
(In SSB Auditorium)
Vicky Herbel, SCC assistant professor of sociology, and Jennifer Rigdon, former SCC adjunct instructor of speech and communication, will discuss the women's movement in America.

11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Bust the Ballot With MTV’s Jose Tapia
(In SSB Auditorium)
In a freewheeling open forum, Jose Tapia from MTV’s “The Real World” will discuss issues facing voters in the November election. The event will promote voter registration and empower young people to get out and vote.

Wednesday, Sept. 17
10-10:50 a.m. – Death of Democracy
Ever since FDR used federal policies to help the nation survive the Depression, Americans have debated the role of the government in addressing societal problems. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, and the impending meltdown of our mortgage industry, we are facing difficult questions about how, and even if, the government should intervene in economic affairs. .

Noon-12:50 p.m.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2008 on a Second Amendment case for only the second time in history. Learn what the highest court in the land had to say about this controversial amendment. Paul Roesler, SCC professor of political science, and Ron Pettus, SCC associate professor of political science, will discuss the new ruling.

1-3 p.m.
Hollywood and the Presidency
(In SSB 1102)
Since the early days of film, Hollywood has been fascinated with the presidency and the men who served in the office. Using film clips from various productions, this seminar will reveal how the industry portrayed the office of the presidency.

Thursday, Sept. 18

10-11:30 a.m.
The Truth About Islam
Malayeka Siddiq, a student at SCC, explains what Islam really says about terrorism. The seminar will address how a faith, whose name itself means “peace,” could encourage its followers to work for death and destruction.

11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m.
Why Are More Women Elected to Office in Rwanda Than in the United States?
The U.S. falls below the world average of female legislators and ranks 68th in women's representation worldwide. Diana O'Brien, a graduate student at Washington University, will examine the factors that influence women's representation in legislatures cross-nationally and features of the American electoral system that limit women's representation.

For more information on SCC’s Democracy Days, contact Michael Kuelker at mkuelker [@] or visit

Also, anyone thinking about trekking out there from the city can contact me; maybe we can both (all) go.


Image of Bunny from The North Coast Journal.

1 comment:

Tony Renner said...

michael kuelker is also the co-host of "positive vibrations" on fm 88.1... saturdays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m....

-- tony