COMPAS Sponsored Events

Our core academic program encompasses a series of conferences, colloquia, and other events aimed reaching across disciplines and promoting critical reflection on the social aims of research and policy.

See below for Inequality COMPAS events being held on campus this year!

Spring Semester

Representations of Inequality

January 12 - Februrary 28, 2017
First and Second Floors of Bricker Hall

In the fall of this year, the COMPAS Program on Inequality was delighted to host both a photo contest and an art contest. Both events were great successes, showcasing photography from students, faculty, and alumni alike, as well as artwork from a number of talented undegraduates. We are therefore very pleased to be able to display work from both contests in the first and second floors of Bricker Hall throughout January and February.
In addition, we have partnered with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library, here at Ohio State to display a number of inequality-related cartoons. A number of the cartoons on display are many decades old, but still speak clearly to the issues of inequality we face today.

"Orange is the New Black: Inequality in America’s Criminal Justice System"

Piper Kerman

January 25, 2017, 4:00p - 5:30p
Mershon Auditorium

Piper Kerman is the author of the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison from Spiegel & Grau. The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series for Netflix. Bringing her message to Ohio State, Piper Kerman will speak about her own experiences in prison and shed light on the wide-ranging collateral damage—particularly on family stability, women, children and minorities—of America’s criminal justice practices.

Kerman's visit is co-sponsored by Honors and ScholarsCriminal Justice Research CenterDepartment of SociologyKirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the College of Social Work.

For more information, please visit the lecture's event page.

"Persistence and Change in Felon Voting Restrictions"
Chris Uggen

February 14, 2017, 4:30p - 6:00p
Thompson Library, Room 165

A half‐dozen defendants sat in the courtroom, all described as “model probationers” living and working in Minneapolis. But they were facing new felony and the atmosphere was tense. Their crime? Illegal voting. They did not sell their votes or stuff the ballot box, they simply arrived at their polling place and cast ballots like so many of us did. Their new felony charges arose because in 30 US states it is illegal to vote while serving a probation sentence in the community. This talk will review research and policy developments in felon disenfranchisement law and policy. After addressing the origins, scope, political impact, and public opinion on the practice, it considers the meaning of these legal restrictions in the context of contemporary debates in the United States and other nations.
Chris Uggen (pronounced You-Gun) is Regents Professor and Martindale Chair in Sociology and Law at the University of Minnesota.

Unlocking the Cage
and discussion with Steven Wise

February 23, 2017, 7:00p
Saxbe Auditorium

Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After thirty years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections.

Steven M. Wise is an animal protection attorney who pioneered the study of animal rights law and developed the strategy of using legal personhood as a means for protecting animals. He holds a J.D. from Boston University Law School and a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Wise is the founder of the legal organization the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), the only organization of its kind, which is pursuing legal rights for highly intelligent animals like chimpanzees, elephants and dolphins. Wise and his work have been featured on Dateline NBC, CNN, the BBC, NPR, The New York Times and The Guardian, among others. His 2015 TED Talk in Vancouver about the Nonhuman Rights Project has more than 900,000 views. He regularly travels the world lecturing on animal rights jurisprudence and the Nonhuman Rights Project.

The screening and discussion with Wise is co-sponsored by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.

For more information, please visit the lecture's event page.

"How to be an Anticapitalist for the 21st Century"

Erik Olin Wright

March 23, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Thompson Library, Room 165
Erik Olin Wright received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at the University of Wisconsin since then. His academic work, has been centrally concerned with reconstructing the Marxist tradition of social theory and research in ways that attempt to make it more relevant to contemporary concerns and more cogent as a scientific framework of analysis. His empirical research has focused especially on the challenging character of class relations in developed capitalist societies. Since 1992 he has directed the Real Utopias Project, which explores a range of proposals for new institutional designs that embody emancipatory ideals and yet are attentive to issues of pragmatic feasibility. His principle publications include: The Politics of Punishment: A Critical Analysis of Prisons in America; Class, Crisis and the State; Classes; Reconstructing Marxism (with Elliott Sober and Andrew Levine); Interrogating Inequality; Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis; and Deepening Democracy: Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance (with Archon Fung).
Erik Olin Wright's lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology.

"The New Urban Crisis"

Richard Florida

April 19, 2017 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
Mershon Auditorium, Wexner Center for the Arts
Richard Florida is author of the best-selling The Rise of the Creative Class and a former Ohio State faculty member. In his upcoming book, The New Urban Crisis, Florida argues that as the middle class continues to shrink, our cities are becoming small areas of privilege surrounded by vast swaths of disadvantage. His talk comes as Ohio State—a founding member of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities—is re-examining how it can best address the needs of Columbus.
The event is sponsored by the Provost's Discovery Themes Lecture Series with support from the Center for Ethics and Human Values (CEHV), Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA), Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).

“Sovereignty and White Supremacy in the Wake of the Charleston Massacre”

Heather Pool

April 24, 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
2130 Derby Hall
In this paper, I use the Charleston Massacre in 2015 as a site to consider the intersection of white supremacy and state sovereignty in the aftermath of a contemporary mass killing in the United States. On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered a historically significant black church to kill nine members attending a prayer meeting. In response, the state of South Carolina sought Roof’s execution (Roof has been found guilty and sentenced to execution). On the one hand, this event can be read as a straightforward story of state sovereignty and the equal protection of persons and punishment of perpetrators via legal means. Thus, it suggests that state sovereignty and white supremacy can be separated in meaningful ways. On the other hand, the state of South Carolina has long been a white supremacist state and has used state-sanctioned violence to support white supremacy. This is best shown by the reemergence of the Confederate flag on the grounds of its State House in 1965, where it remained until less than a month after Roof’s crime. Thus, even though the response of the state to Roof’s crime seems to support a definition of sovereignty that treats all equally, the persistence of the Confederate flag and its quick removal after the crime puts this relationship into question. Indeed, it does not straightforwardly illustrate that sovereignty is separate from white supremacy in South Carolina. Rather, it suggests that the state’s goal was to maintain its own sovereignty to perpetrate racial domination and to do so under the guise of a rational/legal regime. We might read the rapid removal of the Confederate flag after Roof’s crime as an effort to distance sovereignty from white supremacy, but the removal was too quick and too symbolic to have accomplished this purpose.
Heather Pool is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Denison University.

Fall Semester

President and Provost's Diversity Lecture & Cultural Arts Series

Kwame Anthony Appiah

"Two Cheers for Equality"

September 27, 2016 - 5:00pm
Performance Hall, Ohio Union
A world-renowned philosopher, cultural theorist and author, Kwame Anthony Appiah has published widely on moral philosophy, political theory, ethics, and African American literature and culture. A leading thinker on race and society, Professor Appiah’s current research centers on the roles of idealization and ideals in psychology, ethics and politics, and his talk will focus on ethics in higher education.
Professor Appiah holds an appointment at New York University’s Department of Philosophy and its School of Law, where he teaches in New York and also at the university’s global centers. In 2009, Forbes Magazine named Professor Appiah as one of the world’s seven most powerful thinkers and in 2012, he was one of eight scholars presented with the National Humanities Medal by President Obama.
Professor Appiah's lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

For more information, please visit the lecture's event page.

Giving Games

"The mission of the Giving Games Project is to create a scalable, effective, and sustainable form of philanthropy education. We aim to produce a culture of giving where skillful, generous, and informed donors support organizations that achieve the most social impact."

A giving game "educate[s] people about the importance of good giving, and tools they can use to give effectively, by giving them a real-world donation decision with real money at stake."

The 2016-17 COMPAS Program on Inequality is hosting a Giving Game, which will bring together students and faculty throughout Ohio State in order to discuss and ultimately give to charities effecting real change in the world. Participants will be given a pot of money to distribute among a number of charities. After learning about the charities and discussing the merits of giving to each, the group will decide how to distribute the money. At the end of the game, the group's decision is carried out, and real money is given to the charities chosen. The following charities have been selected for the COMPAS Program's Giving Game:

For more information, please visit the event page.

The Provost's Discovery Themes Lecture Series

David Thatcher

Former Surgeon General

"Redefining the Path to Health Equity"

November 8, 2016 - 3:30pm to 4:45pm
Mershon Auditorium, Wexner Center for the Arts
David Satcher, MD, PhD, is the second person in history to simultaneously hold the positions of US Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health. In these dual roles, he encouraged public debate about the importance of a balanced healthcare system and a wide range of related topics, including mental health, suicide, cloning, sex education and AIDS. Serving under both President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush, he led efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.
Dr. Satcher earned a BS degree from Morehouse College and an MD and PhD from Case Western Reserve University.
For more information and to register for this event, please visit the Provost's Discovery Themes Lecture Series webpage.