Monday, March 9, 2015

March Against Violence: Spreading Awareness through Community

Photo by Voices Against Violence (2011)
Anti-violence work is something I am truly passionate about.  For my project, I knew I wanted to combine my work at the SAGE Center and my academic work since both missions are to spread awareness of social justice issues through education to create change.  So when I was put on board to coordinate a Walk Against Violence, which hasn’t been done since I was a first year, I knew that it would the perfect opportunity to integrate both aspects of my Plymouth life.  The walk, similar to the infamous Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes, will be an event to raise awareness of all forms of violence that are prevalent in our society. The walk will consist of tabling for certain student organizations and Voices Against Violence, community members coming together to walk a half-mile loop, and refreshments and conversation after the walk. I believe that this a universal way for everyone to express his or her need for change.  
Many people view violence as a “non-issue” or argue that we live in a post-racial, post-feminist society, thus there is little violence that occurs in modern day. This is a myth that continuously needs to be busted. For many of us that keep up with LGBT news, we know that violence is a daily concern for this community.  Like I mentioned before in a previous post, we are continuing to lose our fellow transwomen of color to racist and transphobic acts of violence; women may have the right to vote but transgender people are still fighting for their basic human rights. But of course violence is not limited to just the LGBT community since anyone can experience violence but it is a topic that continues to come up in the news.
 Many disciplines are interested in the grass roots cause of violence and how to create change within society.  Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Education are the disciplines that come to mind and are the ones that I will use the most when planning this event. For the research portion of this project, I will look into feminist and sociological sources to provide some answers to the “cause” of violence.  I will also be looking into the history of marches against violence.  These are topics that I want to continue to shed light on well into my post undergrad career.
Photo by Voices Against Violence (2011)
The Walk Against Violence is a larger scale event that requires many parts to come together as a whole.  For example, we are working with Voices Against Violence to coordinate a Clothesline Project on campus and to find volunteers for the day of the walk.  Last week, I sat down with two women from Voices to talk about the location of the Clothesline Project and also to discuss how the event has worked in the past.  We talked about which student organizations were involved in 2011 and which local businesses donated food and drink for the event.   The thought of putting together something so large and potentially less tangible is a bit overwhelming.  After I posted my free write, I was asked how I would present my work and it was a bit of a task to figure out. I believe keeping a journal of my process would be an organized way for me to document this project.  With the journal, I will be turning in a paper that describes the process of coordinating this event, along with reflection.

            This is definitely a transdisciplinary project involving many stakeholders, from student organizations and UPD to Plymouth community members and Voices Against Violence.  Many unique individuals will be coming together to delve into the common question of: How do we stop violence? 

CLICK HERE to view my project timeline!


  1. Ok, I like this a lot (I mean, you clearly KNOW that I do!), but I think in order to hit this out of the park, the "journal" really has to be something substantive. By this I mean just a few personal reflections on how it's going day-to-day doesn't seem like it will contribute too much to the impact of the work. How will the journal matter to this project, REALLY matter? I am not opposed, but just think about how you can punch it up so that it's really compelling. I think this will mean either something really creative and innovative (think multimedia experience, or graphic comic/novel thing, or provocative documentary) or else it will have to be more research-oriented so that it provides meaty context for the work (I know you will do this anyway in your paper). So I guess my one concern is that the walk-- which many students have organized at PSU-- doesn't seem to offer quite enough on its own, so the rest of the deliverables will become really key in making this thing feel special. It's fine as is, but I want you to come away with more than a fleeting experience, and also have something to hold on to-- an artifact-- that reflects the impact you've made, the thinking you've done, and the new ideas you've put out into the world. Come chat if you want to brainstorm some more. I love this, but maybe it needs a tiny bump to push to the next level?

  2. Hi Kelsey! I like your key question: "How do we stop violence?" and think it is critically important today. I wonder how you might build from organizing this event, giving it a bit of a legacy at PSU, or a legacy in the minds of the participants and others who learn about it? -Dr. O'Donnell

  3. The idea of using the Broad Model to conduct my paper makes everything a little less scary and overwhelming. This is the kind of organize I need since it does not come naturally to me and I will be following this model when conducting my literature search. It was very useful to read and think about how this will save me time and energy all while keeping me sane.

    STEP 1: According to the first step of the Broad Model the problem or the question at hand must comes in two-fold: it must be complex and it must be researchable in a interdisciplinary sense. I left my prospectus off with the question: How do we stop violence? This question is both complex and interdisciplinary. It is complex in the sense that it is a question that has not yet been answered since the components are deeply rooted in the society at large and psyche of the individual who may commit certain acts. There are many disciplines at play when it comes to this problem and many of them, like Women’s Studies, are interdisciplinary within themselves. When expanding on my research, I have to be sure to stay clear from personal bias since I have a pretty strong bias but the question itself does stay way from personal bias and the other two tendencies.

    STEP 2: The topic of violence is complex as a whole; there are many types of violence that different disciplines have stakes in. When researching why violence is prevalent in a culture, both on a macro and micro level, no single discipline can investigate it comprehensively since it exists in many different parts/ways. The issue at hand is also unresolved which makes it perfect for an interdisciplinary approach and like I mentioned in Step 1, many of the disciplines interested in the problem are interdisciplinary themselves. So they are looking at this issue through an interdisciplinary lens to begin with.

    STEP 3: When looking at Table 11.1 in Repko, it helps me identify which disciplines are relevant when exploring how to stop violence. Disciplines that hold stakes in this issue include:
    • Women’s Studies which uses history, sociology, psychology, religious studies and literature.
    • American culture or studies that uses history, sociology, anthropology, education, literature, and art history
    • Cognitive neuroscience that uses biology, chemistry, psychology, and communications.
    • Film studies that uses history, art history, and sociology.
    These are disciplines that I had never put much thought into but are definitely relevant when it comes to my research and the topic at hand.

    STEP 4: When I conduct my literary search I will organize my sources by discipline, like Repko suggests. It never really crossed my mind to organize it in such a way but it makes complete sense and will save me time and energy in the long run. I will be focusing on quality of the publications rather than focusing on which discipline has more resources. It could be quite possible that many of my resources will be interdisciplinary in their findings, which will be helpful when determining how useful it will be for my paper. The idea of creating a data table will also prove use when conducting research since I tend to be very scattered when it comes to organize of sources. I will look for the disciplines within the works to help identify how useful it will be for my mission.