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Press Release

Contact:
Barbara Laskin
651-696-6203

“Civic Leadership in the Age of Obama”
Fourth Annual Civic Forum at Macalester -
Thursday, April 8

March 24, 2010 – St. Paul, Minn.– What does “Civic Leadership in the Age of Obama” mean?  College faculty and students will answer that question during the fourth annual Civic Forum at Macalester College from 6:30 to 9:40 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall at Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker will be Ian F. Haney López, John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. Haney López teaches and writes in the area of race and constitutional law, and he has published groundbreaking books on the social and legal construction of race. His current research examines the emergence and operation of “colorblindness” in U.S. constitutional law as an indicator of a new racial ideology aimed at legitimating and preserving the racial status quo. His topic is “Post-Racial Leadership: Racialized Mass Incarceration and President Obama.”

Responding to his presentation will be Karin Aguilar-San Juan, associate professor of American Studies at Macalester.  Her book, Little Saigons:  Staying Vietnamese in America, examines the role of place in Vietnamese American community-building.  Since 2006 she has led the Junior Seminar on Schools and Prisons, a required civic engagement component of the American Studies major.   She is a Next Generation Leadership Fellow, a program sponsored by New York University’s Wagner School of Public Policy.

Two Macalester students will also make presentations.

Westenley Alcenat, a senior with a double major in history and political science, will explore the Obama presidency and Obama’s effort to transform the nation’s social landscape through an ambitious social agenda.

Callie Thuma, a senior with an American studies major and a geography minor, will present examples of local and national leaders using the arts and oral history to creatively and collectively address class and race-based inequities in the spirit of Obama’s community organizing background.

The Civic Forum is sponsored by Macalester’s Institute for Global Citizenship to examine concepts of civic engagement and global citizenship—that is, citizenship that is at once local, national, and transnational.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.