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ASU to celebrate new School of Social Transformation

September 27, 2009

The Arizona State University community is invited to a series of events on Oct. 7 to officially launch the new School of Social Transformation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"Our focus is on the creation of transformational knowledge that will allow us to envision the future and achieve change that is democratic, inclusive and just," says professor Mary Margaret Fonow, founding director of the school.

ASU President Michael Crow will be among the speakers at the launch ceremony and reception, which begins at 11 a.m. Oct 7 in the Old Main Carson Ballroom on ASU's Tempe campus. Other speakers include Fonow; Quentin Wheeler, ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Linda Lederman, dean of social sciences in the college.

A panel discussion is planned from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on the topics of gender, race and justice. It will be held in the Old Main Carson Ballroom with distinguished guest speakers Mark Anthony Neal and Celine ParreƱas Shimizu.

Neal is a professor of black popular culture in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University. He has written four books including most recently "New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity." Shimizu is a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, and this year, a visiting faculty fellow at Stanford University. She is a filmmaker and film scholar in Asian American film and media as well as feminist studies. Shimizu has recently completed "Birthright," her fifth experimental ethnographic film which is about mothering across differences.

The School of Social Transformation was established last year through action by the Arizona Board of Regents. It combines four previous academic units: African and African-American Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies, the School of Justice and Social Inquiry, and Women and Gender Studies.

The new school is poised to tackle complex issues related to diversity, justice and social transformation, according to Fonow. "It provides a platform for novel collaborative forms of teaching and knowledge creation that will enhance our ability to make new discoveries, to create social innovations and to engage with others in changing the world," she says.

Within the school are 42 faculty representing a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and various interdisciplinary fields. They are organized into four faculties, each with a faculty head: Stanlie James (African and African American Studies), Kathryn Nakagawa (Asian Pacific American Studies), Marjorie Zatz (Justice and Social Inquiry) and Fonow (Women and Gender Studies).

Other events to celebrate the new school are planned throughout the year, including the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture on Oct. 13 and the Seeking Justice in Arizona Lecture on Oct. 14. Additional information about those events, the launch ceremony and the new School of Social Transformation is online at or at (480) 965-2358.