The first weeks of January 2021 brought several of the United States’ deep, enduring, painful and unaddressed failures into stark relief. Millions watched the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by self-identified white nationalists and Trump supporters, ending with five people dead. What just happened? How could it have happened? Is this the beginning or end? In our so-called post-truth era, more information emerges, interpretations abound, and spin turns to dismissal and denial of facts. Yet, much has been revealed as the insurrection and the treatment of white nationalist insurrectionists is juxtaposed with the atrocities of racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement for intersectional justice.
How can educators engage our students in making sense of these critical issues? How can we use the classroom to harness our current moment and augment the shift in individual and collective awareness? How can we support students in translating increased awareness into responsible action for social justice? Using an intercultural praxis approach in this one-hour webinar, Kathryn Sorrells addressed the pitfalls and possibilities of dismantling white supremacy, grappling with “post-truth” realities, and re-imagining our roles in creating a just, multicultural nation and world.
Sorrells is a professor of communication studies at California State University, Northridge, and is currently serving as department chair. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in intercultural communication, critical pedagogy, performance, cultural studies, and feminist theory. She combines critical/cultural studies and postcolonial perspectives to explore issues of culture, race, gender, class, and sexuality. Kathryn grew up in Georgia; has lived in different regions of the United States; has studied and worked in Brazil, Japan, Turkey and China; and has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, and parts of Latin America. At Northridge, Sorrells has been instrumental in organizing a campus-wide initiative on civil discourse and social change aimed at developing students’ capacities for civic engagement and social justice.
She has published a variety of articles related to intercultural communication, globalization, and social justice. Sorrells is the author of Intercultural Communication: Globalization and Social Justice and co-editor along with Sachi Sekimoto of the 2015 volume Globalizing Intercultural Communication: A Reader.