In the current climate of hashtags, armchair activism, and Facebook petitions, youth protest is a constantly evolving form of assembly. This year, the Education and Youth Studies symposium seeks to explore the issue of protests, which are often communicated through and within educational institutions. An event formerly known as the Excellence in Teaching Symposium will be held this Monday and observe its 30th anniversary with a symposium featuring Irv Epstein. Epstein’s lecture, “Revisiting Global Youth Protest: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects,” will take place on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium.
“Social justice in education is not only a strong component of the event, but also a key focus of our program,” says Associate Professor of Education Jingjing Lou, organizer of the event. While the EDYS department is often linked most significantly to teaching certification, the department’s third track, Youth Studies, strives for an in-depth look at a wide variety of issues surrounding education as it pertains to the younger demographic. A prominent current issue is protest: how and why youth citizens use their voices to make changes in our rapidly changing modern world. As Jingjing says, “21st century youth protests are distinctively global thanks to the mass social media,” a catapulting phenomenon that often stems from educational opportunity disparities.
The symposium strives to bring to campus education and youth studies scholars and practitioners who are involved in research or projects that will inspire current EDYS students, and Epstein is an innovative candidate for the lecture. An acclaimed scholar in international education, youth studies and globalization, Epstein is the Ben and Susan Rhodes Professor of Peace and Social Justice at Illinois Wesleyan University. He recently published his fourth book, The Whole World is Texting: Youth Protest in the Information Age. The book offers international as well as interdisciplinary ideas on education and human rights and his lecture promises to be equally informative on the subject of youth protest across the globe.