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Forum on human rights features student research


BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 24, 2012 – An all-day forum entitled “Human Rights: Witnessing and Responsibility” will be held at Virginia Tech on Friday, Jan. 27 in the Great Room of East Ambler Johnson in the Residential Honors College. The forum is free and open to the public.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences dean’s research forum highlights leading undergraduate and graduate research and creative work in the region.

“The 21st century demands an interdisciplinary recognition of and a critical wrestling with ideas of human rights in our world, our communities, and our scholarship,” said David Brunsma, professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“As scholars, through our observations, investigations, and research, we are witnesses to a wide range of phenomena that validate and that also deny the human rights of people,” continued Brunsma, who specializes in critical race theory, identity, and human rights. “Through our findings, interpretations, and conclusions, we, as scholars have a responsibility to the communities that our research serves. All scholarship produces knowledge that is both affected by people and that also deeply affects these communities. Research is both a witnessing and a responsibility.”

Connections will be explored across multiple disciplines with students presenting from the departments of communication, English, foreign languages and literatures, human development, sociology, the School of Education, and the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Students majoring in psychology in the College of Science, and enrolled in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies will also be presenting along with students from George Mason University, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, and North Carolina State University.

The schedule of presentations is as follows:

  • Global and Local: Human Rights Policy and Law (8:30-10:00 a.m.)
  • Spaces, Places, Voices: Human Rights in Context (10:15-11:45 a.m.)
  • Narrating and Creating Human Rights: Mediations (12:45-2:15 p.m.)
  • From Idea to Action: Human Rights in Practice (2:30-3:45 p.m.)

Sue Ott Rowlands, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences will welcome Alexandra Schultheis Moore, associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro for the keynote address at 4 p.m. Moore’s address is entitled “Témoignage and Responsibility in Photo/Graphic Narratives of Médecins Sans Frontières.”

The forum is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Office of the Dean; the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Institute; Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Research; Graduate School Office for Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives; Women and Minority Artist and Scholar Lecture Series; Women in Leadership and Philanthropy.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech includes programs in the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college seeks to illuminate human experience and expression by creating works of lasting scholarly, cultural, and aesthetic value; empower individuals to engage critically with the complexities of a diverse, global society; and foster the inquiry, innovation, and growth that produce individual and social transformation.