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Panelists to debate citizenship issues at Wake Forest University symposium

April 24, 2007

Local politicians and media representatives, professors, parents and students will debate issues of citizenship, including the meaning of American citizenship, the role of citizenship in journalism and earning citizenship through military service, at a four-part symposium at Wake Forest University April 27. 

The free, public event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Benson University Center, Room 407.

Organized by Wake Forest students in the communication seminar, “Politics, Problems and Practices of Citizenship,” the symposium will explore the theories and practices of citizenship.  Students will also moderate each panel discussion.  The symposium schedule is as follows:

9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. “Citizenship and Journalism” 


Allen Joines, Mayor of Winston-Salem

Ken Otterbourg, managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal

Justin Catanoso, executive editor, The Triad Business Journal and visiting lecturer in journalism at Wake Forest

Moderators: Emily Goldman and Lauren Henn

The panel will discuss a paper titled “Newspapers’ Struggles to Connect with the Public:  Journalism’s Resistance to Social Action Communications as Propaganda,” by Burton St. John III, assistant professor of communication and theater arts at Old Dominion University.   Panelists will debate journalism issues related to citizenship, including whether the print media is out of touch with the public and the existence and impact of media bias.

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  “Citizenship and War”


Elizabeth Anker, assistant professor of English at Wake Forest

Col. Frederick J. Britton, HQ INSCOM, and Wake Forest parent

Robert Hellyer, assistant professor of history at Wake Forest

Ron Von Burg, assistant professor of communication studies at Christopher Newport University

Moderators:  Brett Hubler and Anna Laakman

The panel discussion topic is based on responses to two papers:  “Soldiering for Citizenship” by Angela Hattery, Zachary T. Smith Reynolds Associate Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest, and Earl Smith, Rubin Professor and Director of American Ethnic Studies at Wake Forest and “Women in Iraq” by Wake Forest junior Ashley Graham.  Panelists will debate issues related to gaining citizenship through joining the U.S. military.

2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  “Growing Up American”


Alexandra Britton, Wake Forest parent

Ana M. Wahl, assistant professor of sociology at Wake Forest

Alisa Kessel, visiting professor of political science at Wake Forest

Stephanie Pellet, assistant professor of Romance languages at Wake Forest

Moderators:  Teresa Hastings and Kevin Koehler

Three Wake Forest juniors, Hall Wang, Sajid Ghaffar and Nancy Bialasz, will share their experiences, including the tensions and challenges they face growing up in the United States with immigrant parents.  The panel will respond to and debate some of the issues presented.            

4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  “Avenues for Participation for College Students in the Electoral Process”


Antony Khamala, organizer of Democracy North Carolina

Ashley Lubenkov, Wake Forest junior and campus coordinator and president of Democracy Matters

Daryn Cambridge, regional coordinator of Democracy Matters at American University

Thomas Jenkins, coordinator for Democracy Matters at Winston-Salem State University

Katy Harriger, faculty advisor for Democracy Matters and professor of political science at Wake Forest

Allan Louden, director of debate and associate professor of communication at Wake Forest

Moderators:  Ashley Spooner and Sarah Waite

The panel will discuss what college students can do to be part of the electoral process.  The discussion will include responses to a paper by Marc Howard Rich at Christopher Newport University titled “Investigating Coffeehouses as the New Public Sphere:  The 9/11 Attacks and Public Sphere Discussion.”

According to Alessandra Beasley, symposium organizer and visiting instructor of communication at Wake Forest, citizenship is learned and mastered in multiple contexts, especially as communities evolve and its meaning is challenged.  “This event allows students to learn, practice and share creative and innovative modes of engagement, giving them the opportunity to prepare and actively think of the numerous ways one can be a citizen in his or her community,” Beasley said.    

The event is funded by the Pro Humanitate Creativity and Innovation Fund and is sponsored by the communication department. 

For more information about the event, call (336) 758-4441.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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