Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
Secularism is a hot topic in public, political, and religious debate across the globe. It is embodied in the conflict between secular republics – from the US to India – and a new, resurgent religious identity politics. In the last few years we’ve seen the resurgence of evangelical ethnonationalism in the US, Hindu nationalism brought to the fore by the BJP in India, and an ever louder drumbeat of horrors inflicted on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang by the authoritarian Chinese government. What, though, is “secularism”, and why is it important?
What are the economic and social effects of surveillance in Northwest China? Because Uyghurs–a Turkic Muslim ethnic group–have been framed by Chinese authorities as a threatening population in need of social control, their existence offers technology companies space and funding that is unavailable in other parts of China to develop new technologies. These new technologies can then be used to assist in the “legal” theft of their labor when Uyghurs are assigned to work in unfree conditions. Building on analysis of labor exploitation in other places, Prof. Byler will describe the way state power is channeled through infrastructure and institutions to intensify ethno-racialization and produce a “reeducation labor regime” at a frontier of global capitalism.
The pandemic has forced all of us to pause many of the things which used to fill our daily lives, whether it’s our daily commute or our monthly get-together with friends. This – on top of the challenge of the virus itself – has been difficult. But it is also an opportunity: a chance to reassess our lives and get some clarity regarding what is really important, so that when everything reopens, we can start again more thoughtfully.
How do we decide what is right? What ideas and systems guide how we respond to life challenges and questions? Christian will share experiences that informed his approach to ethics and make a case why we should all expand our ethical literacy.
Our region is growing an abundance of local, sustainable, striving-to-be-equitable enterprises. From local food systems to our native plant landscaping movement, from energy policy to green jobs: much to be proud of, to support and enjoy! Prepare to be nourished by this report, and discussion that will surely complement it, with presenter “Green Jean” Ponzi of the EarthWays Center at Missouri Botanical Garden.
Christian admits he was a bad student. If you talked to some of his teachers, he was probably the worst kind of student- one who was capable, but unwilling. But as an adult, the learning bug bit him and the last ten years of his life has been a sort of testament to learning within and through community. Listen to Christian retrace his learning journey and hear some first-hand accounts of his (unofficial) teachers and co-learners. In addition, he will share some of the work he has been creating with others.
The happy attentiveness of artists at work has been described as a state of total absorption and effortless concentration. It might seem that Emerson contradicts this notion of happiness when he notes, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful…” It may be argued that functional uselessness is the basic property of any work of art. How do artists in their happiness live up to the purposes for living that Emerson offered, usefulness first, but also “to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well?”
Art Reyes III leads a working class community organizing organization in Michigan that works to build multi-racial solidarity in one of the most segregated states in the country. This requires building a spirit of linked fate, that one’s liberation is intimately connected to others. Art will discuss what this has looked like in a time of rising white nationalism and threats of violence in Michigan, and how multi-racial, working-class communities have been building the capacity not only to respond but to vision and build a world where we all have dignity.
Throughout human history we have struggled to liberate ourselves. Human beings have fought for freedom against oppressive governments, cultures, and situations for millennia. What does it mean to be liberated? What can we learn from the struggles of the past? What are the great struggles for liberation in our own time? And how can Humanists heed our calling to create a world in which the dignity of all is recognized – in which all people live free.
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