PAST SPEAKERS: 2016
Confronting Fundamentalism Together
Catherine M. Wallace
Irrational, judgmental, authoritarian, hard-Right Christian fundamentalism threatens democracy and the rule of law: Donald Trump is merely the culmination of their long and dangerous influence upon American politics. To oppose fundamentalism effectively, reasonable people must collaborate despite the diversity of our religious and philosophical commitments. We can more easily collaborate if believers and nonbelievers alike share a compelling story about moral values that we hold in common
Catherine M. Wallace PhD is a cultural historian and literary critic who teaches in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her most recent project is the seven-volume Confronting Fundamentalism series.
Does language matter? Do all languages matter? In this engaging talk, Professor Aria Razfar, an educational linguist, recounts how throughout history, “non-standard” languages have been marginalized with consequences for the people who use them. To deny these languages is to deny the lives that speak them. Narrow views of language stifle individual and social creativity while fueling greater inequity. Through the linguistic ingenuity of a multilingual two year, he offers a compelling story for why all languages should matter in schools and society at large. A #funtartartalk!
Dr. Aria Razfar is Associate Professor of Language, Literacy & Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests are grounded in sociocultural theories of language, learning, and human development. In particular, he draws on linguistic anthropological perspectives such as language socialization and language ideologies for the purposes of understanding learning and development in urban schools.
Super Powers are for Everyone
“Our comic book heroes aren’t the only superheroes in the world,” claims Victor Mateevitsi, Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science with a background in Human Augmentics and Wearable Technologies. How can we add an extra sense, an extra capability? How can we extend our abilities to overcome our limitations, augment human experience and improve quality of life? In his latest research he presents SpiderSense, a wearable haptic jacket that allows the users to feel the environment around them on their own body. Through tiny vibration motors that gently vibrate on their skin, SpiderSense, solves real-life problems, impacting, among others, the very people who need it most — the visually impaired. Do you still think we can’t make the invisible, visible?
Victor Mateevitsi is a PhD candidate at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the founder of SpiderSense, a tactile jacket that helps the blind navigate safely. He is focusing his research on exploring, designing and evaluating novel human augmentation techniques facilitated by technology. He is a Dean’s Scholar Award recipient, has been named one of the “20 in their 20s” by Crain’s Business Magazine and “Fifty for the Future®” by the Illinois Technology Foundation and his work has been featured on popular-press magazines such as Forbes, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist and on pop-culture television programs such as the “Daily Planet” and “All-American Makers”.
A Story of Numbers
Life is traditionally defined by numbers, from age to grades to salary to time. In this inspiring talk, 25-year-old emergency medicine physician Dr. Amy Ho discusses how numbers defined her life… until she started to define them.
Dr. Amy Faith Ho is a emergency physician and writer. She has had multiple national publications and features on medical humanities, health policy and mentoring in forums like NPR, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, KevinMD and others. Her speaking and media engagements include presentations with American Medical Association, American Academy of Emergency Medicine and television features in ABC’s The Today Show, Discovery Channel’s Untold Stories of the ER and TLC’s Sex Sent Me to the ER.
Change of Heart: A Murder Vitctims' Family Member Advocates Mercy
What does public defender and murder victims' family member Jeanne Bishop want more of in the criminal justice system? Mercy. In her talk, Bishop asks for more opportunities to show mercy to defendants in that system, from the bail that is set, to sentencing ranges for crimes, to clemency. Bishop brings her unique perspective as both the sister of a young woman who was shot to death along with her husband and unborn child, and a criminal defense attorney representing people accused of serious crimes.
Jeanne Bishop is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was murdered along with her husband and their unborn baby by a juvenile in 1990. Since the murders of her family members, Bishop has been a passionate advocate of gun violence prevention, abolition of the death penalty, forgiveness and the role of victims in the criminal justice system. She is the author of Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer (Westminster John Knox Press 2015), an attorney with the Office of the Cook County Public Defender and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law.