Desy Schoenewies, assistant professor of art, speaks to students and faculty about the slow destruction of urban neighborhoods and landscapes with the expansion of the airport in St. Louis during a Geek Speak lecture.
A new lecture series that gives Black Hills State University students the opportunity to learn about the diversity of studies on campus was recently introduced by Courtney Huse Wika, assistant professor of English.

‘Geek Speak’ is an hour and a half lecture on two non-designated Fridays of the month. The lectures are based on a variety of subject areas.

“I wanted to have lectures that students, especially freshmen, could go to and really get something out of. Generals can be hard to get into and this gives students a chance to listen to a variety of educational lectures,” Huse Wika, who is also the director of the University’s Honors Program, said.

The lectures are a combination of student and organization requests and proposals by faculty who want to introduce students to diverse areas of research and scholarship in their disciplines.

Huse Wika said there are lectures planned for January and February including: All Great and Small: Representations of Animals in Contemporary Art, hosted by Ann Porter, associate professor of art; My Bloody Valentine: The Psychology of Serial Killers, hosted by Emilia Boeschen, assistant professor of psychology; and Children Beware! Horror Fiction, Fairy Tales, and the Many Forms of Evil, hosted by Laura Colmenero-Chilberg, associate professor of sociology.

During the month of October, the series was titled The Walking Dead. Huse Wika presented a talk on the history of zombies, and Kelly Kirk, BHSU instructor of history, discussed deaths during the Civil War. November’s series was titled American Grief. Desy Schoenewies, assistant professor of art, spoke about the slow destruction of urban neighborhoods and landscapes with the expansion of the airport in St. Louis.

“Houses after houses after houses were gone. Airport passengers were dropping, the numbers of people flying into St. Louis were dropping, and they kept building the new airport expansion. They could have stopped at any time, but they didn’t,” said Schoenewies, talking about the demolition of her hometown of Bridgeton, Mo. “Think about where you grew up, those ice cream shops, those playgrounds, your schools, and now think of it all being gone. I have nothing to go back to, nothing to tell my future children where I came from, nothing.”

After the expansion, the St. Louis airport went from the 8th busiest airport to the 31st in the nation.

“This whole thing was a gamble with no backup plan,” Schoenewies said. “A safe community turned into a scary place.”

During the American Grief series, Sasha Pursley, associate professor of history, also spoke about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The lecture coincided with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

Geek Speak is a free lecture series that is offered to all BHSU students, staff, and faculty as well as community members. The lectures start at 4 p.m. For more information contact Huse Wika at 642-6918 or at Courtney.HuseWika@BHSU.edu.