Symposium among several public events being held by institute this spring

California State University, Bakersfield

California State University, Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics is shining a spotlight on the impacts of incarceration by hosting the first Humanities Beyond Bars Symposium.

The symposium is being held April 7 and 8 in partnership with CSUB’s Historical Research Center and Project Rebound. It is part of the broader Humanities Beyond Bars initiative, which includes public programming on the impacts of mass incarceration as well as an oral history program featuring the stories of formerly incarcerated students, faculty and staff in the CSU system.

The symposium is one of several in-person and virtual events being held throughout the spring semester by the institute.

Chris Livingston, director of the Historical Research Center, said the symposium and oral history program is “especially significant as it gives voice to those that have been pushed to the margins of society. This project allows those voices to be heard and provides historical documentation that will be forever preserved for future generations.”

The Humanities Beyond Bars Symposium will include multiple guest speakers. Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, creators of the award-winning “Ear Hustle” podcast, will be the featured speakers for the Charles W. Kegley Memorial Lecture on April 7 and will participate in a moderated conversation in the Dorè Theater titled “Ear Hustle: Stories of Life In and Beyond Prison.”

On April 8, James King, campaign manager for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, will provide a lecture titled “Understanding Prison Abolition in Practice: Reentry and Community” in the Walter W. Stiern Library.

“It is important that that our keynote speakers are formerly incarcerated persons themselves,” Dr. Burroughs said. “Ethically and epistemically, I think it’s essential to have insights from people who have experienced incarceration firsthand and to listen and learn directly from their lived expertise.”

The symposium will also include several workshops for formerly incarcerated students, faculty and staff from across the CSU system, as well as for local activists and community members.

They will be delivered by staff from Project Rebound, Defy Ventures and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and will focus on the topics of entrepreneurship, women’s leadership in higher education and supporting formerly incarcerated persons’ reentry into society.

“I’m hoping they’ll gain some inspiration, pride and self-confidence and take away some concrete skill sets through these workshops,” Dr. Burroughs said.

The Humanities Beyond Bars Symposium is being funded by the Kegley Institute of Ethics through grants from California Humanities and the Whiting Foundation.

Dr. Burroughs said the goal behind the symposium is not only to spark conversation about the impacts of mass incarceration but also to foster community-building and collaboration opportunities for activists, community members and currently and formerly incarcerated persons.

The symposium will also introduce more of the public to the initiative’s oral history collection.

Here is the schedule for the rest of the spring events being held by the institute. For in-person events, all non-CSUB affiliated guests will need to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the event.

Feb. 10: Public Philosophy, Education, and Social Justice lecture, featuring Dr. Briana Toole, Dr. Dr. Sol Neely, Dr. Kyle Robertson, and Adam Blazej. The event is free and open to the public. It starts at 4 p.m. via Zoom.

Feb. 11: KIE Ethics Across the Curriculum Faculty Presentations, 1 p.m. via Zoom for CSUB faculty only.

Feb. 17: Black History Month Ethics in Leadership: A Conversation with NaTesha Johnson, 6 p.m. via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public.

Feb. 18: KIE Faculty Colloquia Series: Dr. Amin Malekmohammadi, “Incorporating Ethics in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Classroom.” This event is open to CSUB faculty and staff only and will be held at 12 p.m. in classroom 1108 of the Humanities office building.

Feb. 22: Ethics in Film: AlphaGo, co-hosted by KIE and CSUB School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering. This students-only event will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

March 3: KIE Community Colloquia Series: Dr. Amy Reed-Sandoval (University of Nevada), “Intimate Boundaries: Toward a Feminist Theory of Borders.” This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held at 6 p.m. in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter W. Stiern Library.

March 15: KIE Community Colloquia Series: Dr. Jennifer Morton (University of Pennsylvania), “Moving Up Without Losing Your Way.” This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

March 26: Wendy Wayne Day of Service, 8 a.m. Advance registration is required. The location and information about how to sign up will be announced soon.

April 7: 36th Charles W. Kegley Memorial Lecture: Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, “Ear Hustle: Stories of Life In and Beyond Prison.” This event is free and open to the public and will be held at 6 p.m. in the Dorè Theater. 

April 8: Humanities Beyond Bars Symposium: James King, “Understanding Prison Abolition in Practice: Reentry and Community.” This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held at 12 p.m. in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter W. Stiern Library.

April 19: Kaiser Permanente Bioethics and Medical Humanities Speaker Series: Dr. Michael Méndez (UC Irvine), “Tainted Grapes, Tainted Lungs: Extreme Wildfire Impacts to Undocumented Latino/a and Indigenous Migrants.” This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

April 29: KIE Student Fellow Presentations at 12 p.m. in classroom 1108 in the Humanities office building. This event is for CSUB faculty, staff and students only.

For more information about these events or the Kegley Institute of Ethics, visit their website.