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Western Kentucky University

ICSR | Research Working Groups



Institute for Citizenship & Social Responsibility

1906 College Heights Blvd #71084
Bowling Green, KY 42101

270 745-3218


Tate Page Hall 110

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Purpose of ICSR Research Working Groups

ICSR's Research Working Groups provide a structure to support faculty, staff, and/or graduate students to sustain critical research on citizenship, social responsibility, community engagement, and social justice, broadly defined. Working groups strive to create productive intellectual exchange among members, facilitate deeper understanding of the identified research topic, and create innovative ideas related to the topic of research. 

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Spring 2015 Research Working Groups


Fighting the New Jim Crow

In follow-up to the campus wide faculty reading group of The New Jim Crow (Fall 2014), this working group will begin solution focused discussions and plans to take action against the deliberate attack on African American males by members of the U.S. Justice System. Specifically, the primary goals of this group are to:

a.) explore and obtain a deeper understanding of local policies/practices that negatively impact the judicial rights of African American males
b.) foster the opportunity to discuss and create positive actions that support African American males healthy awareness and understanding of their rights, experiences and challenges with the U.S. judicial system
c.) create meaningful and sustainable community interventions/support for African American males labeled as felons with an intention to assist in the expungement process.


Creative Identity Reframed

This research working group's project is based on the art of Ecuadorian painter, Oswaldo Guayasamin focusing on a five-panel mural painting in particular, with which the artist intended to represent the inherent racial and cultural multiplicity of the Ecuadorian nation. The original mural painting is a permanent installment on the wall of La Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of
Human) in Quito, therefore was framed and thus immobilized… until now through a new traveling exhibit at Vanderbilt University, Art in Motion:
Guayasamín’s Ecuador Unframed, which is scheduled to come to Kentucky Museum in February 2015 for a broader WKU exposure in celebration of “WKU Year of Ecuador” event.

The mural is composed of five movable and interchangeable panels that signify the evolving nature of cultural/individual identity across time and space. With this new traveling exhibit, the five panels are displayed freely and through the use of digital simulation they are able to rotate, each time making a new combination from the five segments and resulting in a different composition. This concept of human identity being composed of many segments with a constant shifting nature, has sparked an interest to further collaboration with the area P-12 teachers and WKU art pre-service teachers and art students.

The specific goals of this proposal will involve working with the area ESL, Art, and Spanish teachers and WKU art students to help them create their own version of who they are as individuals in a broader social, political, and cultural context. Through this creative involvement, participating P-16 students will get an opportunity to explore their own identity and think about what is important to them, and practice problem solving skills to create a better world for us to share.

Anthropocene and Resilience

This research working group will facilitate discussions, organize a workshop, and use social media to raise awareness, clarify the debate, identify challenges and responses, and start the conversation at WKU, in Bowling Green, and Kentucky on what is likely to be the defining issue of the 21st century:  The impacts of the Anthropocence and the resilience of individuals, communities, and institutions in response to them.  Our focus is on exploring whether building local community resilience is the most realistic and viable response to the challenges of the Anthropocene. 

Closely related to the main focus is the debate on the transition from sustainability to resilience.  Does the Anthropocene require such a shift, and if so, what are the implications both for sustainability and resilience?  Do we need to reframe sustainability in the context of resilience, and if so, how?  The groups approach is grassroots and bottom-up, starting the conversation within our group, and then reaching out to key multipliers first at WKU and in Bowling Green.  We seek to gain initial traction and then scaling it up over time by building bridges, and breaking out of silos. 

Previous Research Working Groups

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 Last Modified 2/6/15