Business and Humanities Colloquium Series

Question It! Change It!
“Violence in America”
Fall 2022- Spring 2023


The B&H Question It! Change It! Colloquium Series, is a forum for students and the broader DelVal community to engage in informed and guided conversations about contemporary problems and issues. Faculty in the School of Business and Humanities will present lectures addressing these current issues from their respective disciplines, facilitate discussion and provide resources to deepen our understanding.

The persistence of mass shootings of schools, shopping malls, places of worship and entertainment venues has long captured public attention if rarely effective policy change, but violence in America goes far beyond and runs deeper than these all too often instances of mass bloodshed. As of August 12, over 1,400 people have been shot in Philadelphia alone in 2022 and hundreds have died as a result. According to the PEW Research Center, more Americans died from gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record. America has a violence problem. In this colloquium, we will explore the history and context of violence in America and steps towards change. We will also address the thorny issue of the necessity of violence in some situations. We hope you join our yearlong conversation.

Schedule of Events (Spring 2023)

Monday, January 30 - "Pathways into Crime: Violence as a Means to Survive”

Presenter: Dr. Megan Demarest (Criminal Justice) 

Time: 7:00-8:00 PM 

Location: Hybrid – Life Sciences Building and Zoom: https://delval-edu.zoom.us/j/87965053524

Description: This talk will interrogate why people engage in violent crime by considering systems of power and inequality that often shape and constrain agentic decision-making. In doing so, we will discuss circumstances in which crime emerges as a survival mechanism and the implications of this on criminal justice system responses. An interactive Q&A session to follow. 

 

Wednesday, February 8 -“Mental Health and Gun Violence”

Presenter: Dr. Matt Mutchler (Psychology)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: Hybrid – Life Sciences Building Auditorium and Zoom: https://delval-edu.zoom.us/j/87965053524

 

Thursday, February 23 - “Panic and Responses to Violence”

Presenter: Dr. David Timony (Education)

Time: 6:30-7:45 PM

Location: Hybrid - Life Sciences Auditorium and Zoom: https://delval-edu.zoom.us/j/83011957765

 

Tuesday, March 14 - “The Impact of Marginalization, Stigma, Discrimination & Violence on LGBTQIA+ People”

Moderator: Dr. Audrey Ervin (Psychology); Sarah Janicki, Director of Education, A Woman’s Place

Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Location: Life Sciences Building Auditorium

Description: This interactive panel discussion will bring together experts and community members from various disciplines to discuss how marginalization, stigma, discrimination and violence impact the well-being of sexual minority, transgender, gender expansive and queer folx. In collaboration with Doylestown Pride, A Woman’s Place & the Del Val Graduate Counseling Psychology program, this interactive community forum strives to create an affirming space where participants develop an action plan for change.

 

Wednesday, March 22 - “Trauma-informed Education: A Response to Gun Violence"

Presenter: Dr. Lauren Ryals (Liberal Arts/Music)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: Hybrid - Life Sciences Building Auditorium or Zoom: https://delval-edu.zoom.us/j/89347505600

Description: This session includes a narrative of the presenter's experience with a school shooting alongside a data driven discussion on trauma-informed education practices as a response to gun violence, specifically in schools over the last 23 years. The collective group in attendance will engage in a community building activity to reflect and encourage a chain reaction of positive change to end gun violence in schools. All materials will be provided.

 

Monday, April 3 - “Yoga in America: A Practice of Violence & Spiritual Bypass or a Pathway Toward Peace and Unity?”

Presenter: Dr. Sheena Sood (Liberal Arts/Sociology)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: Zoom: https://delval-edu.zoom.us/j/85013229419

Description: As a billion-dollar industry, yoga is often marketed as a “peaceful” practice that members of society practice to combat “stress” and cultivate “calmness” within themselves and to foster unity with all beings. In recent years, we have also witnessed a global uptick of yoga’s deployment by far-right governments and political institutions. For instance, yoga and mindfulness programs are routinely used in police academies, detention facilities, prisons, militaries, law enforcement and border patrol forces.

“Yoga in America: A Practice of Violence & Spiritual Bypass or a Pathway Toward Peace and Unity?” strives to make sense of the juxtaposition of yoga in the public sphere and by far-right forces – the latter of whom often use yoga to distract from their projects of state violence and systems of institutionalized hierarchy. Using a combination of archival research, content analysis, and autoethnography as a yoga teacher, I explore how yoga studios, practitioners, and state, corporate, and legal institutions co-opt Asian spiritual traditions for varied purposes. Peeling back the sociological, historical, and political roots and consequences of the decision to appropriate yoga in these contexts, I examine the ethical stakes, political purposing, and consumption of yoga in militarized settings amidst its widespread notions of purity, peace, and positive health. This conversation aims to empower the audience to decide for themselves whether yoga in America is being used as a practice of violence and spiritual bypass or as a pathway toward peace and unity.

 

Monday, April 17 - “The Violent Toll of Addiction, Why the Community Should Care & How We Can Be Part of the Solution”

Presenter: Marion Callahan (English/Media and Communication) 

Time: 6:30-7:45pm 

Location: Life Sciences Building Auditorium

Description: This panel discussion will bring together law enforcement leaders, treatment advocates and community stakeholders from various disciplines to shed light on addiction, with rise in Methamphetamine and Fentanyl, and the violent aftermath. The conversation will bring attention to specific Bucks County cases and community-based efforts to find solutions.