Join Shannon @ Two Events Next Week

Shannon facilitates community discussions on the limits and possibilities of identity politics in the contemporary American moment:

Tuesday, October 27

Tuesday, November 17

Tuesday, December 1

All events are 7-9 pm at the Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106.

You do not need to attend all discussions in order to participate; you may attend as many as you are able. Or, join us on Twitter at #uncoveringpublic.

To find out more information, please click here, or read below.

Registration is appreciated, in order to plan for a successful event.


What assumptions shape our public spaces? How is it that some perspectives are rendered invisible in public, while others are reinforced? And how do the (often unstated) assumptions of public life limit our collective ability to address important issues? In a series of three discussions, participants will be invited to engage in conversations about the state of public life in the United States. A short presentation will serve as the foundation for an open and challenging discussion the requires a broad range of perspectives.

Identity Politics in the American Present

Dates: Tuesday, October 27, November 17, and December 1, 2015
Time: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E, St. Paul, MN 55106
Cost: $5 per session

Please join the discussion on our Twitter Town Hall.

What are the limits and possibilities of connecting through personal identities in 21st century America? What do we mean when we say, the “black vote,” or the “black community,” or “black culture,” and how do these identities serve or trouble notions of community and democracy? Is there still a place for engaging around identity when so many of us express so many identities at once (gay, middle-class, female, Latino, etc.)? In what ways can organizing around identity limit equitable democratic and social participation—particularly for those who have historically been left out? And, on the contrary, how might “identity politics” encourage greater participation or deeper engagement?

In a series of public discussions, Shannon Gibney will facilitate conversations about the state of identity politics in the United States. In each session, a short presentation will serve as the foundation for an open and challenging discussion that requires a broad range of perspectives. These dialogues will center on the following topics and questions:

Session One: Defining Terms—Identity, Culture, and Power

What do we mean by the term “identity politics,” and what role does it play in American life today? How do “identity politics” inform our political and cultural lives? Why are some identities in America, and organizing around them, seen as “political,” and others as simply “normal”? And is it always useful to link political affiliations to the race, gender, sex of one’s body? In this session, Gibney will facilitate a discussion on definitions that establish the peculiar dynamics of “identity politics” as practiced in the United States.

Session Two: Identity Politics in the Present
What are the main issues in identity politics right now? How do we understand these cultural tensions as they are played out in our personal, interpersonal, and institutional lives? What are the stakes in organizing ourselves around a politics of the body in this contemporary moment? Gibney will present a real-life case study illustrating the contentiousness and possibilities of identity politics in our era, and ask participants to reflect on their utility and limits.

Session Three: Beyond Identity Politics?
In America under President Obama, plenty of people have suggested that we are now living in a “post-racial” era. At a time when racial disparities in health, housing, employment, incarceration, and education remain stubbornly high—particularly in Minnesota—what does it mean to suggest that identity may not be a nimble enough category to organize around? Are there perhaps other categories of politics—those beyond the body, for example—that might ultimately lead us to a more multi-vocal, robust society? In this final session, Gibney will invite participants to question the limits of identity politics as they have been practiced thus far, and to envision alternate and/or additional strategies for establishing connectedness.

Shannon Gibney lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis. Her creative and critical work has been published in a variety of venues, including in the anthologies Parenting as Adoptees, and The Black Imagination: Science Fiction, Futurism, and the Speculative. Her young adult novel See No Colorwas published by Carolrhoda/Lerner Books in November 2015, and she is currently at work on a novel about African Americans who colonized Liberia in the 19th century.

Questions: Kirk MacKinnon Morrow, 651-772-4252,

This event is funded in part with support from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created by a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008 and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Please join Shannon and others for a discussion on “Trigger Warnings” in the higher ed classroom:

Thursday, October 29, at 4 pm

Crosby Seminar Room, 2nd Floor East Side, 240 Northrop, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Free and open to the public.

Trigger warnings are designed to prevent unaware encounters with topics that might elicit strong and damaging emotional responses in some people. Some call them a bandaid; others raise issues of academic freedom. This discussion will focus on how we can reframe and move beyond these debates to address how we can create a community in which all our members feel secure and respected, while also being able to examine difficult and controversial issues. Continuing the conversation started by a panel on trigger warnings last fall in the department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, this event is cosponsored by the Office of the Provost as part of ongoing Campus Climate work, which will include a series of forums on Academic Freedom over the coming year.

Angela M. Carter, Graduate Instructor & Ph.D Candidate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, UMN
Shannon Gibney, Faculty in English, MCTC
Roozbeh Shirazi, Comparative and International Development Education, UMN

Moderated by Jigna Desai, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and Asian American Studies, UMN

This event is cosponsored by the Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality (RIGS) Initiative.

Click here to visit the event webpage.

10.29.15 Trigger Warnings 2


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