2021-22 Academic Theme: Race & Social Justice

The Annual Academic Theme: An Introduction

Since its inception in 1994, the University of Maine at Augusta theme has brought our communities together for numerous activities and programs. Beginning in 2006, an annual colloquium of faculty members has chosen the theme and a corresponding reading to share with other faculty, students, staff, and the larger community. We feature discussions in and outside of our classes and organize events in order to promote larger conversations about the theme. These events have provided a platform for multiple voices to be heard on such significant topics as health and social justice, immigration, and bioethics.

The UMA Colloquium is pleased to announce that the 2021-2022 Academic Theme is Race & Social Justice.


George Floyd’s killing in 2020 launched a national reckoning with racial inequity, especially pertaining to the violence levied toward people of color in the U.S.  Since then, calls for racial justice have impacted Americans on a scale that historians say has not happened since the 1960s. This year’s theme will allow our community to reflect upon issues of race and social justice from a variety of perspectives, both historical and contemporary. Our goal is to offer opportunities to consider and discuss, and to cultivate critical inquiry and independent thought on this complex topic.

cover of the book CasteThe Academic Theme is addressed at Convocation in the fall and then through the spring INT/HON seminar, culminating at the UMA Student Research Conference in April. Another component of this year’s academic theme is the adoption of a single theme-related book by a number of classes across the curriculum: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

“Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day.” [from publisher]

Stay tuned for how you might get a free copy in Fall 2021!

Thanks to all the faculty colloquium participants this year:
Susan Baker, Kati Corlew, Matt Dube, Sarah Hentges, Vickie Ireland, Elizabeth Powers, Amy Rahn, Chelsea Ray, Sharon Sawyer, Juyoung Shim, Noel Tague, and Ellen Taylor.

Best,
Lisa Botshon & Lorien Lake-Corral
2021-22 Colloquium Co-Chairs

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