On Sept. 8, 2020, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s Reframing the Conversation series made its in-person comeback with Inclusive Histories Matter.
The event was held in person in the Gould Auditorium of the Marriott Library, while also being streamed on the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s Youtube page. This was Reframing The Conversation’s first in-person event in over a year.
“This is our first hybrid event,” said Vice President of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Mary Ann Villarreal to open the event. “[And it] certainly will not be our last.”
Inclusive Histories Matter consisted of four panelists. The panelists were U student Camden Alexander, educational consultant Dr. Kathleen Spencer Christy, associate professor of the Department of Political Science Dr. Edmund Fong and professor and Chair of the Department of Education Dr. William A. Smith. The panel was moderated by Dean of the College of Humanities Stuart Culver.
“We discussed the issue of inclusive histories from a number of different angles,” Culver said. “The primary focus was on how to bring inclusive issues into the study of, particularly, American history.”
This being the first Reframing the Conversation event held as a hybrid made for a new format that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion had yet to experience.
According to Culver, Inclusive Histories Matter had sparse in-person attendance and many more individuals wearing masks compared to previous in-person events.
Though in-person attendance only made for a small turnout, Culver estimated there were many people who streamed the event, which added a new element to collecting questions from the audience.
“It’s difficult to address the two different audiences when it comes to the discussion portion,” Culver said. “When you’re fielding questions from the audience and you want a little more spontaneity, I think it’s a little harder to get those questions from the virtual audience. They tend to be less immediate to the place where you are in the discussion.”
The panel discussed a variety of topics, mostly revolving around critical race theory and how inclusive history is taught at the collegiate level.
“This particular genre of discussion is something that’s very important because it is more student-centered,” Culver said. “Here we could ask more practical questions. We even had a student on the panel.”
According to Culver, Inclusive Histories Matter offered a voice to students. It gave them the opportunity to discuss what they wanted to talk about and how they are being addressed when learning about the history of race. He said the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion works to give students a voice.
“They choose topics that provide that kind of give and take,” Culver said. “Opposed to constantly hearing, you know, from the experts.”
The panel also analyzed the definition of inclusive history and its importance.
“Inclusive history is not just about doing what is ethically right, which is very important in its own right,” said Fong during the event. “But it is about generating accurate understanding of the past country.”
One key point throughout the presentation was the importance of teaching accurate history.
“We study history because the past is implicated in the present,” Culver said. “You can not really understand the present unless you understand the past.”
To learn more about Reframing the Conversation and their future events, visit their page through the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion website.