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2017 Race, Ethnicity and Identity Lectures

The Social Sciences Department in coordination with The Diversity Lecture Series are pleased to present the below speakers.

  • All lectures are free and open to all
  • Lectures begin at 7 p.m. **Unless Otherwise Noted
    Fountain Street Church
    24 Fountain Street NE
    Grand Rapids MI 49503
  • ASL interpreted
  • Book signing follows authors' lectures
  • For more information, please call (616) 234-3390

October 26, 2016
Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche
Ethan Watters; Author, co-founder of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto

Ethan Watters is the author of Urban Times, an examination of the mores of affluent “never marrieds” and the coauthor of Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, Discover, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and NPR’s This American Life, he has appeared on such national media as Good Morning America, Talk of the Nation and CNN. His work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series Watters is co-founder (along with Ethan Canin and Po Bronson) of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto where he often teaches writing classes.


Defending America in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Dawn Porter; Criminal justice system reformer, attorney, and Gideon’s Army filmmaker

March 28, 2017
The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Micro-scaled Examination of Syrian Women Refugees in Jordan
Dr. Karen Culcasi, Associate Professor of Geography, West Virginia University

Time:       6:30 pm
Location:  Room 168 Applied Technology Center Auditorium, GRCC Main Campus

Dr. Karen Culcasi (Ph.D. Syracuse University) is a popular WVU professor, known for her captivating teaching and ability to generate high levels of student interest. Her research and teaching uses critical and feminist geopolitical frames to examine contested places and identities. Her work, which focuses on the Middle East and the Arab world, has been published in leading geographical academic journals. Dr. Culcasi has conducted fieldwork throughout the Middle East, as well as in Dearborn, Michigan. One of her more recent endeavors has been devoted to documenting the daily and long-term challenges of displacement, which Syrian women are compelled to endure as refugees in Jordan, and this is the topic of her lecture scheduled at GRCC.

Dr. Culcasi is one of 43 geographers listed as distinguished Visiting Geographical Scientists by The International Geographical Honor Society (GTU) and the American Association of Geographers (AAG). Her talk on 28 March, a part of the GRCC Social Sciences Lecture Series, is funded by GTU and the AAG, as well as GRCC. Inquiries can be directed to Stacey Herrick ( ) or Mike DeVivo (