Gannett Lectures at RIT to Focus on Globalization

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New lecture series director emphasizes citizen activism

Rochester Institute of Technology announces its 2003-04 Caroline Werner Gannett Lecture Series that will focus on issues of globalization, a topic central to world events and critical to a college education. The nine Gannett lectures—free and open to the public—will explore the theme Globalization, Human Rights and Citizenship.

Part of RIT’s mandatory Senior Seminar in the College of Liberal Arts, the series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, in Ingle Auditorium in the Student Alumni Union, with the talk, Citizen Activism and the Decline of Democracy, by Richard Robbins, a distinguished teaching professor at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and author of Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism (2002).

A discussion group following the talk will include Sarah Brownell, an RIT alumna and social activist with Project H.O.P.E in Haiti; M. Ann Howard, associate professor in RIT’s public policy and science, technology and society departments; and Wade Norwood, councilman-at-large for the City of Rochester.

“In the early 1990s very few people were talking about globalization,” says Paul Grebinger, Gannett lecturer and coordinator of Senior Seminar. “Then 9-11 hits and suddenly people understand that we’re connected to the world beyond.”

Grebinger adds: “This year we are focusing on citizen activism. What can we do about these problems? Next year, we’ll focus on how globalization is changing.”

Many of the talks in the series will include discussion groups of experts and activists.

A brief summation of the fall and winter lectures follows:

  • What the West Owes Africa: Acknowledgement, Apologies and Compensation (?) by Rhoda Howard-Hassmann; Thursday, Oct. 16. Howard-Hassmann, Canada Research Chair in Global Studies and Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, has written Compasionate Canadians: Civic Leaders Discuss Human Rights (2003) and Human Rights and the Search for Community (1995).

  • AIDS Epidemic: A Global Perspective by Murli Sinha; Thursday, Oct. 30. Sinha is the chair of sociology and anthropology at RIT. Sinha wrote the upcoming book, Women, Poverty and HIV Infection among Indian Prostitutes. Discussants will include Jean Douthwright, professor of biology at RIT, Annie Piazza, director of client services, AIDS Rochester Inc., and Colleen Freeman, a member of Mothers Acting Up (MAU).

  • Rethinking the Juvenile Death Penalty: The Case of “Kansas Charley” by Joan Jacobs Brumberg; Thursday, Dec. 11; Brumberg is the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and Professor, History, Human Development and Gender Studies at Cornell University. Brumberg wrote Kansas Charley: The Story of a 19th Century Boy Murderer (2003) and The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls (1997). Discussants will include David Kaczynski, executive director, New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, and Herbert Haines, professor of sociology at SUNY Cortland.

    Unless otherwise noted, all talks will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Webb Auditorium of the James E. Booth Building. For more information, visit or call 475-2057.