Like many researchers, Michael Ugarte finds his research to be rooted in his personal history. "My research is connected directly to who I am, what part of the world I come from, and where I grew up," begins the MU Professor of Romance Languages. As we sat in his tiny office, I found myself staring into the kind eyes of this gentle soul, mesmerized as he described the personal connections involved in his research.
One of the things Dr. Lindsey finds so fascinating about hip hop is how it “holds a mirror up” to the issues in our society as whole. It was one of the first genres to talk about sex, sexual health, and societal issues directly, and hip hop continues to be a genre that reflects the cultural problems faced by every social group.
Gallimore has merged her academic research with social activism. While her background in linguistic theory is useful in understanding certain linguistic phenomena, she acknowledges that “if I go speak about the semiotics of the language of the genocide, that’s something that academicians would understand, but it may not be useful for someone outside of the association.” Realizing this limitation, she founded Step Up! American Association for Rwandan Women, an organization that recognizes the reality that “the needs of the Rwandan women are enormous. Not only are there concerns for practical things such as jobs, food, and school supplies, but the mental health needs have largely remained unaddressed. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety remain as an aftermath of the intense horror of the genocide.” Step Up has developed a number of projects to help redress these problems.
How does activism fit in with pedagogy on campus? What is a just war?