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Democracy Days 2022

Monday, September 19, 2022
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM


On Campus


promo - Gregory Magarian D DAYS 2022_new.jpg

Democracy Days 2022

Examining the History, Health & Functioning
of Democracy in America and Abroad

 ~  an annual tradition at SCC since 2001 ~


all sessions in SSB Auditorium (unless otherwise noted)


free & open to the public 

Monday, Sept 19 


10               Democracy, Dictatorship and War  

In the post-Cold War era, it was commonly believed that democracy was ascendant, with the expectation that dictatorships would become a thing of the past. Today it is democracy that is in retreat, and Europe has seen a shocking example of tyrannical imperialism. Gabe Harper (SCC Political Science) will discuss the prospects of democracy worldwide and its potential to make war a thing of the past.   


11:30          Teach-In: Abortion Access in Missouri 


Join Gender Studies scholar Brenda Boudreau (McKendree University) for a Teach-In about abortion access. Practical takeaways include: learning how to dispel misinformation, learning how to use inclusive and fact-based language, and finding out what you can do to help the state of reproductive freedom. This session is moderated by Jayme Novara (SCC English). 


1                Crip Camp [film]


Join us for an excerpt from the documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution followed by a 30-minute discussion led by Paige George (SCC Disability Support Services Manager). The film shares with insight, clarity, humor and beauty the experiences of one group of disabled young people and their journey to activism and adulthood. In so doing, the film provides an opportunity for all to delve into the rich and complicated history of disability activism, culture and history. Community-led screenings and conversations can elevate and amplify diverse voices in the disability community, build capacity for advocacy and activism and provide space for people to connect and share their stories.   


2:30           Feeding Democracy: Food as Politics 


From corporate food production to agricultural policy, and from the local grocery to the backyard BBQ, our food system and our food choices are unavoidably political. Join Mike Dewes (SCC Culinary) and a smorgasbord of local food system experts for a heaping helping of food politics.  



Tuesday, Sept 20 


9                     Fight to the End

Gun rights. Questioning elections. "Cancel culture." Assassination. International aggression. Perhaps more than at any other time in living memory, democracy itself seems to be rife with conflict arising from external opponents as well as within. Can't we all just get along? Should we even want to? Join Charles DeBord (SCC Philosophy) in unpacking a philosophy that claims that democracy's struggles are a feature, not a bug: our very existence as conscious human beings guarantees it. The conclusion may shock and offend you, but just remember, you're always free to disagree!

10                   Politics, Democracy, Psychology

This presentation will center on the use of psychological principles in understanding the current rise of tribalism in politics. How that tribalism threatens the democratic process and how it isn't simply a case of "both sides doing the same thing." Marvin Tobias (SCC Psychology) will talk about how identity and emotionality have tainted the political process, and the presentation will conclude with tools and correctives which can hopefully promote a better democratic process.

11:30            Why Are Books Dangerous? A Historical and

                     Literary Case for Reading Banned Books

Corey Porter (SCC English), Rachel McWhorter (SCC English), Michael Kuelker (SCC English) and panel moderator Grace Moser (SCC History)
 confront the issue of censorship that is splashing across the news and social media, and answer the question, Why? Why are these books deemed so dangerous that they required removal from public and school library bookshelves? The panel will address the history of banned books and moral panics and look at the latest books objected to by school and library boards around the country. Attend to find out why we should care about protecting this right to read "banned" books. 


1:00               Critical Disability Theory  


US society continues to challenge what “democracy” looks like at the site of our bodies and our identities – recognizing a long heritage of white supremacy and heteronormativity. Yet mainstream society has only begun to confront our latent ableism in these conversations. Critical Disability Theory offers a lens to view disability not as a “property of bodies” but rather as a set of “cultural rules about what bodies should be or do” (Rosemarie Garland-Thomson). From stock characters in mythology and literature, where physical disabilities have too often represented “character flaws,” to contemporary images of the “super-crip” mascot for those that overcome a fate “worse than death” (picture Christopher Reeves in his chair, “Super Man” as the copy, on 48-foot wide billboards) -- disability problematically continues to function as the margins by which “normal” society may feel reassured of itself. This panel will share some tenets of CDT and have an open discussion about the micro-aggressions to outright injustices our society still perpetuates around the idea of “disability” – and what we might do to challenge them in the name of democracy. Rachel McWhorter (SCC English) is our panel moderator.

2:30               Russia & Ukraine: What Our Students Are Saying


What impact has the Russian-Ukrainian conflict had on SCC English as a Second Language students and on international/immigrant students in general? Dawn Huffman, who has taught language learners for 27 years, will explore the accounts of students who are attempting to study in a non-native language while having to cope with a myriad of emotions that arise in times of war. In addition, she will explain how the classroom can become a haven for students who are from conflict-ridden cultures and/or divided nations. 



Wednesday, Sept 21 



10                   Pushing Back Against the Bans:

                       Libraries and Intellectual Freedom

This panel of SCC librarians and information professionals will address the recent and ongoing challenges of books in America’s schools and best strategies for challenging the challenges. The panel will be made up of local librarians, members of Missouri Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, and possibly students working against these recent bans. We will discuss the history of banning books in libraries and schools, what led us to where we are today, and how to best address things going forward.

11:30            The U.S. Constitution and the Insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021


In Democracy Days 2022’s keynote address, a specialist in the U.S. Constitution addresses this founding document in light of Jan. 6, 2021. Gregory Magarian is Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and the author of Managed Speech: The Roberts Court’s First Amendment (Oxford Univ. Press, 2017). The insurrection marred an otherwise stellar record of peaceful transfers of power, one of the hallmarks of democracy. Do not miss this constitutional scholar’s analysis.


1                      My Body, My Choice?


The Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. In recent months, some states have banned all abortions, including those caused by rape and incest, while other states proposed laws that will label abortion as homicide and seek the death penalty for women seeking abortion. Meanwhile, other states are proposing laws that ban certain types of contraception. This panel confronts the implications of this ruling. Kate Weber (SCC History) explores the history of abortion and other restrictions on women's bodily autonomy (or whatever you want to cover). Dana Prewitt (SCC Sociology) will discuss the sociological impact of this ruling on American women. Paul Roesler (SCC Political Science) will examine the Constitutional roots of the Right to Privacy, and how its elimination will weaken other bodily autonomy rights, including birth control and gay sex.

2:30               What’s Going On? A Satirical Look at America 

                      Through the Eyes of an Educator 


Gregory Bosworth (SCC Dean of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences) offers a critical examination of America through the lenses of educational professionals who are on the front lines of the anti-intellectual movement that has permeated many facets of our daily lives. From mass shootings, the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade, the Jan 6 Committee, inflation, and the war in Ukraine, we will speak on topics that we as everyday Americans are dealing with in our homes as well as the classroom. 



Thursday, Sept 22 



10                   Can Capitalism Guarantee Democracy?


William Baca-Mejia (SCC Economics) delves into the relationship of capitalism and democracy. Orthodox economists, such as Milton Friedman, tend to suggest the causality between capitalism and freedom. That capitalism leads to a better democracy. Nonetheless, the classical liberal notion of capitalism is one thing, and capitalism has evolved into different market structures that goes against what we know as democracy. To be more precise, the reflections of John Maynard Keynes on his “Am I Liberal?” or “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” takes us to be wary of the orthodox interpretation of the link between the economic and political spheres of society. Understanding the complexities between the economic and the political systems helps us to see how the process of accumulation works in favor or against democracy.

10                   Interfaith Panel on Abortion

Rev. Rebecca Turner (Pastor of Maplewood United Church of Christ) leads an interfaith dialogue on abortion. Panelists to be announced soon. Keep checking this page! 

11:30            The ADA in Higher Education: A Student Panel

Paige George (SCC Disability Support Services Manager) offers a short history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it relates to higher education. A panel of students who are receiving accommodations at SCC, or have in the past, will discuss the challenges that they have faced and the solutions that have worked for them. This session will raise awareness about disability issues and give an opportunity for everyone on campus to learn more about the disabled student’s experiences.  

1                     The Poetry & Prose of Protest

The current political climate of the United States has created an environment that is rife for protest in its many forms: marches, picket lines, vigils, speeches. This panel examines another form of popular protest with a rich history: the written word.  Following a brief history of the use of literature as protest, members of the Fall 2022 Creative Writing II class taught by Joe Baumann (SCC English) will present their protest writing and discuss their motivations and inspirations for writing, as well as what they hope the power of art and the written word can achieve in a time of turmoil and upheaval.


2:30            Jennifer Ambler’s Political Parody in Blue

                   à special presentation on the main stage of the Shook Fine Arts Bldg.  


Jennifer Ambler is a serious political junkie. No really, she’s got a problem! Her obsession results in writing hilarious parody songs about the insanity of the American political system. It’s Weird Al meets Schoolhouse Rock. Ambler is a native of Florida. She attended the University of Florida, majoring in Political Science and interning for her Senator in DC. She spent 10 years in New York pursuing her Broadway and musical theatre dreams. In 2017, she launched Parody in Blue, a performing arts company dedicated to talking about current issues through musical comedy. She lives in Georgia. This presentation is sponsored by SCC Student Life and will take place on the main stage of the Shook Fine Arts Building (FAB).



7 pm              The Kinloch Doc [film]

Kinloch is a city in St. Louis County that has undergone profound social, political and economic changes since its inception in the 19th century. For many years, Kinloch was a thriving community built on black entrepreneurship, but today it is a shell of what it was suffering crime, corruption, a declining tax base and other ills. What happened? This 50-minute film, directed by Alana Marie, a storyteller and content creator in St. Louis, uncovers a wealth of history and brings us up close to the people, the community and its complexities. Hosted by Michael Kuelker (SCC English) and sponsored by SCC Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.  

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