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 (Fall 2022)

Wednesday, Sept. 14 - "Violence in America" 

Presenters / Moderators: Dr. Brian Lutz (English); Dr. Michael Stamps (English), Craig Stutman (Liberal Arts)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: LSB Auditorium

Description: This opening event will provide a general introduction to the colloquium’s program and participants via a panel discussion about the role of violence in America.

Thursday, Sept. 22 - "Building Bridges: A Panel Discussion on Prison Reforms"

Presenters / Moderators: Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen (Psychology); Dr. Megan Demarest (Criminal Justice)

Time: 7:00-8:00pm

Location: LSB Auditorium and on Zoom

Description: This evening will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Daniel J. O’Connell, Mr. Brian P. Boger, and Mr. Simon Schackner. Panelists will discuss reforms and ongoing initiatives within the United States correctional system, including educational collaborations and partnerships, program development, as well as new directions in prison research. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions as well.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 - "Gun Crazy: Representations (and Repercussions) of Gun Violence in American Popular Culture”

Presenters / Moderators: Dr. Brian Lutz (English); Dr. Michael Stamps (English)

Time: 1:40-2:55pm

Location: LSB Auditorium

Description: This event will be a combination of formal multimedia presentation and Q&A session, focusing on the problematically fun but numbing effect of representations of gun violence in American pop culture, particularly in film, television, music, video games, etc. We are especially interested in exploring the roots of the distinctly American fascination with--and fetishization of-- guns and the growing normalization of gun violence in our everyday lives. This discussion will also consider the controversial claims of causal links between fictional gun violence and real-life gun violence.

Thursday, Oct. 6 - “Sometimes You Have to Punch a Bully in the Face”

Presenter/Moderator: Jess McCall (English)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: Hybrid - LSB 101 or Zoom ( )

Description: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is one of the most destructive lies we tell young people. In fact, the damage caused by language is sometimes longer lasting and more devastating than physical violence. Wrestling with the paradox that violence begets violence and passivity rarely allows for the spiritual enlightenment promised by popular media, this event will consider how we measure, mark, and act according to a standard of action that is both ethical and realistic.

Wednesday, Oct. 12 - “Violence on the American Frontier: colonization, slavery, and resistance in Colonial and Antebellum America”

Presenter: Dr. Craig Stutman (Liberal Arts)

Time: 6:30-7:45pm

Location: LSB Auditorium

Description: In the history of the colonization of the Americas, violence has been used as a tool for either oppression or control. From Spanish Conquistadores' brutal methods to subdue Indigenous populations, to the British Colonial and Post-Colonial frontier hysteria and wars with Native Americans, these tactics have been central to conducting both a literal and psychic campaign to terrorize or commit genocide. Similarly, methods used during the Middle Passage, and for creating and perpetuating the institution of race-based slavery, were also maintained by ultra-violent systemic means. Yet agency also thrived--as Native Americans and African Americans often turned the tables to fight their violent oppressors.

Wednesday, Oct. 26 - “Pathways into Crime: Violence as a Means to Survive”

Presenter: Dr. Megan Demarest (Criminal Justice)

Time: 6:00-7:15pm

Location: Hybrid: LSB Auditorium or Zoom:

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.