2016 Lutheran Studies Conference
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Sessions take place in the Scandinavian Cultural Center in the Anderson University Center, unless noted.
- 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Registration in the University Center Upper Lobby
- 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Ideas Matter: Justice as Equality, Freedom, and Community in a Post-Enlightenment World
Dr. Doug Oakman and Dr. David Deacon Joyner
Very old ideas about justice continue to have relevance for our contemporary struggles. Racial injustice is rooted in long-standing human issues addressed in the civic traditions of the Greek city-state and in biblical Israel. Justice is not the right of the stronger nor the contemporary whim of global markets. Ideas that shape deep understandings of human being and doing, as well as social and civic betterment, must forever have critical free play in the pursuit of justice. The musical heritage of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, whose combined efforts inspired the Civil Rights Era from the late 1930s onward, continue to show us how.
- 10:15 – 10:45 a.m. – PLU Students Engage the Quest for Racial Justice
1. Kim Bond, Ms. Meghan Gould, and Mr. Theo Hofrennig
In this panel, PLU students discuss how their education and their activism continue to shape their experience and views of racial justice.
- 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Marginalized Memories, Critical Conversations: The Literature Classroom as a Space for Imagining Racial Justice
Dr. Emily Davidson
Literature classrooms can be powerful spaces for conversations about racial identities and histories, bringing the past into dialogue with the present. From the disappearance of novels that depict Jim Crow segregation in Panama to the banning of Mexican-American Studies in Arizona, this presentation offers a transnational look at the troubling censure of literary works that challenge readers to confront contentious national memories. At the heart of this reflection is the conviction that reading and thinking deeply challenge us and ignites our critical imaginations, empowering us to envision and create a different, more equitable world.
- 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch
- 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – It Doesn’t Matter If I Mean Well: What 21st Century White People Might Learn from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King
Dr. Kevin O’Brien
Martin Luther King, Jr. is too often remembered as an optimistic dreamer, with his call for radical revolution ignored. Malcolm X is too often remembered as an angry militant, with his vision for justice and community ignored. This presentation will focus on the common ground between these two thinkers and activists, and will use it to consider how white people in the 21st century might respond to the persistence of racism, the epidemic of mass incarceration, and diverse contemporary movements for justice.
- 2:45 – 3:30 p.m. – The Art of Social Protest: Images That Provoke, Inspire, and Challenge
Dr. Samuel Torvend
In a culture filled with many words (and broken promises), the visual image can serve as a prophetic witness and inspire social change. From Abolitionist cartoons to contemporary Chicano mural paintings, visual artists have challenged injustice and inspired movements committed to just and peaceful change. In this presentation, we consider the work of contemporary artists who contribute to this often unknown yet vital source of social justice.
- 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. – Whose Story? Critical Race Theory and the (De)Construction of the PLU Narrative
Ms. Angie Hambrick, Dr. Joanna Royce Davis, and Ms. Laree Winer
PLU was founded by Lutheran immigrants from Norway and has, over its history, welcomed mostly white and Christian persons into this learning community: the story of PLU is one largely shaped by people of European descent. Using critical race theory, this presentation and discussion will consider the dominant narrative of Lutheran education and ask how counter narratives that might recast or reconstruct the PLU story in ways previously unimagined.
- 5:00 – 6:45 p.m. – Conference Reception and Dinner – Regency Room
Conference participants are invited to purchase a three-course dinner and bar service when they register here. For those who prefer supper elsewhere, the University Dining Commons and restaurants on Garfield Street provide ample opportunities for the evening meal.
- 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Keynote Address: Where Grace Meets Race: One Lutheran’s Insights on Racial Justice – Chris Knutzen Hall in the Anderson University Center
Dr. John Nunes
Dr. John Arthur Nunes is the recently elected president of Concordia College, a Lutheran school in New York City, where he serves a multi-racial student body. Prior to his presidency at Concordia, he was the CEO of Lutheran World Relief (Baltimore) and most recently the Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University, a university professorship that supports the study of Christian values and public life.