Keynote speaker kicks off Cultural Week

Geneseo's annual Cultural Harmony Week, titled "Through Their Eyes," featured keynote speaker Grace Chang of the University of California on Oct. 20.

The week began on Oct. 19 and will end on Oct. 25. According to Fatima Johnson, the coordinator of Multicultural Programs and Services, its theme is designed to emphasize the importance of allowing people "to tell their own story."

Chang was introduced by education professor Linda Ware, who elaborated on the week's theme by asking, "Whose knowledge matters? And who decides?"

At the start of the lecture, Chang said, "I am not a champion of globalization." She said she views globalization and gentrification as a modern day form of imperialism and colonization.

"The U.S. and other First World countries work through powerful organizations such as the World Bank and [International Road Federation] to influence local economies around the world," she said.

Chang said that these influences benefit highly developed countries while harming undeveloped countries. She also alluded to a "third world within the United States," discussing groups within American society that she says "are often spoken for instead of being allowed to speak for themselves … women of color and people of color are the primary victims of globalization, but we can't stop there."

Chang's accomplishments include the organization of a theater program called Women of Color Revolutionary Dialogues at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She said she created the program in response to the Vagina Monologues, a play she was "disgusted" by. She closed her lecture with three performances by WCRD.

Other highlights of the week included the showing of the films "The Muslims I Know" and "The Sugar Babies," art exhibits, and a discussion called "OneVoice" which will focus on of Israeli-Palestinian relations and will take place on Oct. 23 in Newton 214.