Angela Y. Davis Continues Winegarden Tradition at UM-Flint

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Angela Davis at Q and A session with UM-Flint students
Angela Davis at Q and A session with UM-Flint students

When Angela Y. Davis visits UM-Flint next week, she will be carrying on a campus tradition that spans most of the 21st Century.

Davis, a social justice activist and educator, is the 2015-2016 Myron and Margaret Winegarden Visiting Professor. She'll engage with the university and public during the week of March 20 on campus in a series of events, including a student lecture, faculty forum, and public lecture.

The visiting professorship, run through the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, was formed in 2001 through a generous gift from the estate of Margaret Winegarden. Visiting professors are chosen by a faculty selection committee.

Margaret was a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in education. She taught for several years prior to her marriage. Myron was a graduate of the University of Michigan, including its Law School. He practiced law and was based out of Flint.

The professorship was created to bring scholars of national reputation to UM-Flint to explore teaching and education with the university and greater Flint community. The initiative has drawn a wide range of scholars, in fields such as literature, journalism, music, sociology, and education.

The professorship's guidelines "specify that the candidate contribute to the understanding and appreciation for the sciences and humanities in the context of the emerging global world economy", according to the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Rushika Patel, director of the Women's Educational Center, and interim director of the Intercultural Center, nominated Davis. She applauded the focus and purpose of the professorship.

"I like that this professorship offers us opportunities to think through the organization of the global economy and apply this analysis to how we think about Flint in particular," Patel said. "Considering the political and economic structure of society it is equally important to thinking about questions of culture and social relationships, and Angela Y. Davis understands this in a remarkably clear and important way."

Stephen Bernstein, Professor and Chair of English at UM-Flint, nominated two of the people that came to UM-Flint as Winegarden Visiting Professors; James Elkins (2012-2103) and Frederic Jameson (2003-2004).

"I think it contributes a lot to the intellectual discussions around campus," Bernstein said about the professorship.

Bernstein, who often attends the various events, said the different dynamics for each visiting professor offers value to the university.

Prior to this year, the visiting professors have included:

  • 2013-2014 : Jüergen C. Wolter
  • 2012-2013: James Elkins
  • 2011-2012: Kenneth Waltzer
  • 2009-2010: Christopher Paul Curtis
  • 2008-2009: Tariq Ali
  • 2007-2008: Will Power
  • 2006-2007: Stanley Aronowitz
  • 2004-2005: Patricia Hill Collins
  • 2003-2004: Frederic Jameson
  • 2002-2003: Tony Townsend

"I think it's great that the product can be varied and show the way the different disciplines can be of value," Bernstein said.

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