Humankind, New, Multi-Year Program

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West Shore Community College is inaugurating an adventure to examine a different region of the world for the next three years titled “Humankind.” With speakers and exhibits, music and movies, the College and its guests will explore Sub-Saharan Africa and science beginning this fall, the Middle East and home, culture, and conflict in fall 2018, and Cuba and the Caribbean and how politics affect the ways people live, work, and learn in fall 2019.

“Perspectives on Sub Saharan Africa opens the three-year exploration. “We recognize some community members and students may already know quite a bit about the continent while others may know very little. Everyone will learn something and we are confident the series will expand our world view and how we are all connected to the regions we are studying,” says Dr. Brooke Portmann, Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Because the program will prompt audiences to think about new topics and in new ways, the first events explore creative thinking. These include a special event for the community on Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m., “A ‘Tools for Thinking’ Approach to Business Creativity,” and will be led by Robert Root-Bernstein, a physiologist from Michigan State University.

Together with his wife Michele Root-Bernstein, Bob is the author of “Sparks of Genius.” The book explores the 13 thinking “tools” creative people in all lines of work use.  Root-Bernstein has found that whether a person is a student or a teacher, a parent or grandparent, an employee or a retiree, or in business, social work, or manufacturing, the tools are surprisingly the same.

A related event will be held at 11 a.m., Sept. 7, for students and community, “Thinking Creatively Across the Disciplines.”

Coupled with this look at how we think, “Humankind” also opens with a first overview on Africa on Sept. 7, at 7 p.m., “The Representation of Africa” for students and the community. John Metzler, from MSU’s African Studies Center, will provide an overview of the religious, cultural, and geographical diversity of Africans.  He will look at how our ideas about Africa often contrast with how Africans see themselves, giving audiences a way to understand Africans as a traveler to Africa might and a way to think about the topics about Africa throughout the fall and next semester.

“Traditional African Art: A Dialogue of Context” at the Manierre Dawson Gallery on WSCC campus is the first exhibit for “Humankind.”  It includes a display of more than 50 masks and statues from diverse regions and peoples of Africa. The exhibit is open now through October 13.

While each presentation from September through April can stand on its own, the presentations, arts events, and movies are also designed to build on each other. The fall programs are designed to provide a broad look at Africa—its diversity of people, natural resources, political structures, and religions among other topics.

In the winter, the programs will draw from the general knowledge discussed in the fall and examine specific topics, for example GMOs and how someone from a ‘first world’ country can think ethically about needs and solutions in a ‘third world’ country.            

The full list of programs in the fall include:  

• August 28 - October 13, 2017 - Traditional African Art: A Dialogue of Context, Manierre Dawson Gallery, Arts & Sciences Center
• September 6, 6:30 p.m. - A ‘Tools for Thinking’ Approach to Business Creativity with Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein. Administration & Conference Bldg.
• September 7, 11 a.m. – Robert Root-Bernstein will be on campus to kick off our year’s exploration. Center Stage Theater, Arts & Sciences Center
• September 7, 7 p.m. - The Representation of Africa, by Dr. John Metzler, Center Stage Theater, Arts & Sciences Bldg.
• September 20, 12:30 p.m. - Jamie Monson,  Africa: A Historical Overview of Major Themes in African History, Center Stage Theater, Arts & Sciences Center
• October 11, 12:30 p.m. - Kekla Magoon, author of X, a Great Michigan Read event, will discuss her book. Center Stage Theater, Arts & Sciences Center
• October 23 - December 1, 2017 - Mopti a la Mode, Portrait Photographs by Tijani Sitou, Manierre Dawson Gallery, Arts & Sciences Center
• October 24, 2 p.m. – Photographer Malick Sitou, Gallery Talk about his father’s work in the exhibit, Mopti a la Mode, Portrait Photographs by Tijani Sitou, Manierre Dawson Gallery, Arts & Sciences Center
• November 7, 11 a.m. - Ruth Mbabzi, Sustainability in African agriculture, Women in Africa, Administration & Conference Bldg.
• November 15, 12:30 p.m. - Art Historian, Candace Keller, specialist on mid-20th Century African photographers, will provide an overview of her research of African art and photography, Center Stage Theater, Arts & Sciences Center

Programs from January to April include: January: Stephen Esquith, considering ethics in a global world; February: genetically modified foods/genetically modified organisms (GMO) panel with Ruth Mbabzi, and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; March: Robert Root-Bernstein, AIDS research; March: Judith Humphries, University of Wisconsin, infectious parasites; and March: “Out of Africa” - African music and dance featuring Dane Richeson, Nani Agbeli & Kane Mathis. April will feature the closing program and reception.   

Click here for Humankind Flyer.


Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Relations