Speaker Series

BHSU-RC 2017 Speaker Series

Mondays in Room 112 at 6:30 pm unless otherwise noted.


Monday, Jan. 23 | Holocaust Choices         Watch the video here
Hayley Brooks - Genocides Study Advocate
6:30 p.m.

Probably the largest group of perpetrators in the Holocaust were the bystanders. What were conditions like for them? Did they have a choice? Taking inspiration from temporary exhibit "Some were Neighbors" from USHMM and from personal story of Irene Gut Opdyke, this speaker series will focus on the choices people made during the Holocaust and highlight lessons learned from their stories. We all have choices in life and we can make a difference even as individuals to make the world a better place.


Monday, Jan. 30 | All We Are Saying: Activism in Music
Trenton Ellis - Assistant Professor, Human Services and Dan May - Assistant Professor, Mathematics

6:30 p.m.

Within the notes, tempo, volume, and lyrics of a song is often a message or story. Music also informs public discussions about important social problems and conflicts. Through this Geek Speak listening party, we will explore songs of activism across a variety of eras and causes. The songs are personally selected by Dr. May and Dr. Ellis as well as crowdsourced from members of the BHSU Geek Speak community. The role of music in activism and social change in music is explored using concepts from Joel Best’s sociological analysis of social problems, namely the use of framing in the claimsmaking process. Please join us for an afternoon of music, reflection, and discussion. Whether you’re a musician, activist, or just an all-around geek, this Geek Speak will be music to your ears.


Monday, Feb. 6 | Impacting Perceptions
Hailima Yates - 
6:30 p.m.

An interactive presentation consisting of brain teaser images, illusions, and videos used to explore our personal views. Discover how outside influences from our experiences and environment to the media shapes our perceptions which in turn inspire our choices and actions. When we identify the beneficial and/or destructive impact our interpretations to external stimuli may have on our lives we can choose to create the kind of life we prefer to live. 



Monday, Feb. 13 | Madness: Women in Popular Culture Watch the video here
Laura Colmenero-Chilberg - Professor, Sociology
6:30 p.m.

Within all societies, popular culture helps socialize members into appropriate roles. Within human society there are always dominant and subordinate relationships that help create the social structure. Popular culture acts as a method by which all are clued into what is normative and what is deviant behavior within the boundaries of the particular culture. This includes defining which groups are dominant and which are subordinate as well as what behaviors define membership in each of these groups. Individuals who fail to meet the normative standards and characteristics of the dominant group are then classified as subordinate. This subordinate position is then often categorized as deviant. One particular area where this can be found is in gendered relationships where men are the dominant group and women the subordinate one. Throughout western history we have seen this deviance “named” in a variety of ways including women who are uppity, women who are sinful, and women who are mad. This presentation will look at two historical works of literature that defined female agency as madness: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It will then change its focus to investigate contemporary popular culture by examining Quentin Tarantino’s movie Kill Bill as well as the television series Penny Dreadful to demonstrate that today this same kind of women’s agency is perceived as “crazy,” continuing a long-standing patriarchal tradition of controlling the subordinate group by defining it as mentally ill.


Monday, Feb. 27 | Dialect Discrimination from Disney to Django: How Hollywood Uses Language to Reinforce Racial Stereotypes
Lindsey Clouse - Adjunct Instructor of Composition and Humanities
6:30 p.m.

Though modern film has made strides toward greater diversity in casting and behind-the-camera roles, racial stereotyping still persists on the silver screen. This presentation will examine how modern films use dialects such as Black English to define and limit characters in racially stereotypical ways. Specific examples of dialogue from recent mainstream films will be used that illustrate this widespread practice, as well as examples from films that defy it. Further, the presentation will discuss the myths and misconceptions about dialects such as Black English, and their relationship to so-called "standard English," that are still prevalent in our culture, even among educated individuals.


Monday, Mar. 13 | Rise of the Third Reich   Watch the video here
Robert Haivala - Adjunct Professor
6:30 p.m.

This lecture will deal with the rise of the German Reich after World War One. What caused Germany to go from a fledgling democracy to a Totalitarian state? Was it a fluke of history or can we learn from the German experience? How was a down and out individual such as Adolph Hitler able to become one the most powerful leaders in the world and plunge Europe into it with the most devastating event of the 20th century? The answer might surprise many.


Monday, Mar. 20 | Historical and present racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system   Watch the video here
Joshua Houy - Professor, Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, University of South Dakota
6:30 p.m.

A discussion of presentism, path dependence and historical institutionalism vis-à-vis racial disparities in the United States' criminal justice system. The destruction of the American Indian justice system, the targeting of the Chinese and their opium dens, the connection between early marijuana laws and Hispanics and the politics behind the mass incarceration of minorities will be addressed. Audience questions and comments welcomed.


Monday, Mar. 27 | The Video Game Monologues   Watch the video here
William Cockrell - Instructor, Behavioral Sciences
6:30 p.m.

Since the 1980s, video game consoles have become a staple in American society and pop culture. What is often less mentioned is how the media almost exclusively portrays "gamers" as adolescent males. A focal point of the current presentation is to help illustrate that both female video gamers and female video game characters are less likely to be accurately represented. Console video games will be examined to discuss how increasing acceptance of female gamers could help improve the overall "acceptance" of this small subgroup. Additionally, various academic methods of research will be used to examine how female characters are often negatively portrayed in video game culture. The following fields of research will be utilized to discuss the issue: psychological research of minority groups and interpersonal relationships, modern feminist and human sexuality research, and diversity/tolerance research.


Monday, Apr. 3 | Who is the Reluctant Celebrity? – Crazy Horse, Korczak Ziolkowski, Chief Henry Standing Bear          Watch the video here
Jeffrey Wehrung - Assistant Professor, Management
6:30 p.m.

The Crazy Horse Memorial project owes much of its success to the often reluctant celebrity status of those involved. Unfortunately due to the focus on the people involved, most outsiders do not understand the project's mission to someday support a University and Medical Training Center. In this discussion we explore how celebrity has both helped and hurt the project, as well as what the leadership team can do to draw greater attention to the foundation’s ongoing mission.


Monday, Apr 10 | Transgender 101
Terri Bruce - Transgender Rights Advocate
6:30 p.m.

Transgender man and transgender rights advocate Terri Bruce will provide basic information about gender identity and what it means to be transgender, define some of the terms used when discussing gender identity, talk about common misconceptions, and answer any questions you may have.


Monday, Apr. 24 | LGBTQ+: Fleshing Out the Acronym       Watch the video here
William Cockrell, Lesleigh Owen, Terri Bruce, and Emilia Flint
6:30 p.m.

Hosted by Dr. William Cockrell, Dr. Lesleigh Owen, Terri Bruce, and Dr. Emilia Flint, will cover multiple aspects of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) research. Given the highly political topic of equal rights in the United States, the panel will cover aspects of federal law and LGBTQ+ issues. The discussion will also include a brief historical overview of sexual orientation in the United States to contrast where we are today. Further topics discussed include: Demography, definitions and terminology pertaining to transgender persons, body dysmorphic disorder/body acceptance in the LGBTQ community, health and HIV, parenting, intersectionality, and hate crimes. The panelists hope that this discussion will allow members of the Queer community to reach out and network with one another. We also hope that this discussion can increase understanding and empathy among our straight and cisgender friends and family.


BHSU-RC located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd., Rapid City, SD 57709
For more information or to request accommodations for persons with disabilities, contact Gene.Bilodeau@bhsu.edu or (605)718-4088