Panel Discussion

Echoes from the Street: Activist Perspectives on Violence and Civil Society

Dec 03, 2020 | 12:00- 1:30 PM

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A Panel Discussion with

Soren Stevenson, Minnesota

Brian Leung , Hong Kong and Washington

Nova Lucero, New York

Moderated by Prof. Frances Fox Piven, The Graduate Center, CUNY

The theme for this semester has been violence and civil society. Our initial panel suggested, at the very least, some ways in which politics itself depends on violence, and is not separate from civil society. Subsequent sessions bore this out in sometimes direct, and sometimes indirect ways, with consideration of the homeschooling movement’s foundation in racist resistance to school integration—into the 1970s—as well as elements of violence internalized in the limits on demands of LGBTQ+ activists, and consideration of the ways that academic writing often understands and relates the relationship of violence and protest in significantly different ways than activists themselves understand it.

In the final session, we ask people who are on the frontlines of struggle about violence and movements in a moment in which both protest policing and counter-movement strategies have become increasingly violent and intertwined, but also in which a global pandemic has exposed the everyday violence of the crushing inequality of urban spaces: from Hong Kong and Minnesota to New York , three organic intellectuals of contemporary struggles offer their reflections and suggestions for researchers with one foot in the academy and one foot in the trenches.

About the Speakers

Soren Stevenson is a recent graduate from Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ International Development Program. His background is in health and healthcare but has recently shifted focus towards foundational issues like housing and the environment. In the George Floyd uprising, Soren was shot with a rubber bullet by Minneapolis police while nonviolently protesting.

Brian Leung is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. His research interests include the political economy of development, authoritarian institutions, and political violence. He is also interested in a wide set of computational methods and causal inference techniques, including survey experiments, social network analysis, and text analysis. He received his B.Soc.Sci. and LL.B. from University of Hong Kong in 2017

Nova Lucero is a Tenant Organizer at The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and an Adjunct Instructor at City College of New York, CUNY. Nova works with tenants in the Bronx to create tenants associations and fight for better housing conditions for tenants across New York State. She previously worked with Northern Manhattan tenants and residents creating tenants associations and fighting the city proposed rezoning for Inwood, as well as an Eviction Prevention Case Manager and Housing Specialist in the South Bronx, with families facing eviction and currently living in the shelter system. Nova graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Political Science.

Frances Fox Piven is a Distinguished Professor in Sociology and Political Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is an internationally renowned social scientist, scholar, and activist whose commitments to poor and working people, and to the democratic cause have never wavered. Piven is the author or co-author of more than 200 articles published in academic journals, books, popular publications and journals of opinion since 1965, including Poor People’s Movements (1977), Regulating the Poor (1971), and Why Americans Don’t Vote (1988) (with the late Richard A. Cloward), and Keeping Down the Black Vote (2009).

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