Black Lives Matter co-founder to speak at VCU

March 16, 2016

Opal Tometi, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, will speak at Virginia Commonwealth University on March 31.

Tometi, an activist who has worked at the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights for more than a decade, will speak at 7 p.m. at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St. in Richmond.

Tometi, along with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, created the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, prompting activism nationwide and introducing the banner under which this generation’s civil rights movement marches.

Tometi’s talk, “#BlackLivesMatter: Hashtag in Action,” will be free and open to the public.

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On occasion of 35th anniversary, VCU Dance emphasizes creating 21st-century 'global artists’

March 4, 2016

With the start of the spring 2016 semester, the curtain rose on the 35th year of the Department of Dance and Choreography in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. In recognition of this landmark, E. Gaynell Sherrod, Ed.D., chair of the department, and Lea Marshall, associate chair, reflected on the department’s past and focused on its future, which is dedicated to embracing the university’s core values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

While over the years the department has grown — from 25 students enrolled in 1981 to about 100 in 2015 — Sherrod has noticed that as the number of students increased, the demographic makeup of those students shifted as well. Today more than 50 percent of dance students identify as a person of color.

“With that said, there are several implications we need to address,” Sherrod said. “How do we reflect, in a cultural sense, what those voices are and help them get the information they need in order to make their own career happen? How do we also make sure that we have the faculty at the table that will bring that information to the forefront in terms of curriculum?

“Our curriculum needs to shift a little bit as well, not only to address the students of color, but all students, because we want to make 21st-century artists. And 21st-century artists are really global artists.” One way to do this is creating more study abroad opportunities. “If we’re talking about global then we need to get them out in the world,” Sherrod said. Faculty members are already cultivating relationships in different parts of the world and, as a result, about a dozen students are studying in Paris this semester.

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New book edited by VCU professor tells story of freed Virginia slave’s journey

March 4, 2016

Virginia Commonwealth University professor has edited the first anthology of the autobiographical writings of Peter Randolph, a 19th-century former slave from Prince George County, Virginia, who became a prominent abolitionist, pastor and community leader.

Sketches of Slave Life and From Slave Cabin to the Pulpit” (West Virginia University Press), edited by Katherine Bassard, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences and VCU’s senior vice provost for faculty affairs, offers a window into Randolph’s experience of enslavement, emancipation and freedom.

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2016 PACME Celebration

January 5, 2016

The 2016 annual PACME Celebration will be held on April 4, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at the University Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballrooms. Nominations are open.  For the online nomination form, eligibility and other information, visit: 2016 PACME.

An interview with Jill Lepore, author of 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman'

February 25, 2016

“The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” Jill Lepore’s riveting exploration of the creation and history of Wonder Woman, touches on a wide range of characters and topics beyond the pages of the superhero’s long-running comic books. Chief among them is William Moulton Marston, the character’s eccentric creator, but the book also tackles psychology, medicine, the American family, Planned Parenthood, the lie detector test, the women’s suffrage movement, comic book culture and much more.

The result is a book that the Los Angeles Times called “its own magic lasso, one that compels history to finally tell the truth about Wonder Woman – and compels the rest of us to behold it.” Alison Bechdel, the author of “Fun Home,” among other works, said, “In the nexus of feminism and popular culture, Jill Lepore has found a revelatory chapter of American history. I will never look at Wonder Woman’s bracelets the same way again.”

This year, Virginia Commonwealth University selected “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” as the inaugural selection of the university’s Common Book program, which encourages the entire VCU community to read a single book and attend conversations, events and other learning opportunities surrounding the book throughout the academic year. The Common Book program is an expansion of the summer reading program VCU launched in 2006.

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