Category Archives: Season 2

2019-20 Academic Year

Water and Environmental Justice in Louisiana – Bonus Episode

Students on J-Term in Louisiana

Although Lives of the Mind is on break for the summer, we’d like to share this special bonus episode to tide you over until the school year begins again this fall.

Augustana College recently made the switch from trimesters to semesters. This January was the school’s first crack at intensive J-Term courses, many of which included trips throughout the country and abroad. In this special bonus episode, we go behind the scenes of one of the College’s new J-Term experiences–a Geography course called Water and Environmental Justice focused on the Louisiana Gulf Coast region of the United States and led by Augustana Associate Professor of Geography Dr. Christopher Strunk. The course begins and ends with an on-campus component, with a seven day trip to Louisiana as its centerpiece. In the middle of January, 2020, 15 Augustana students traveled from snowy western Illinois throughout warm Louisiana, including stops in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and New Orleans.  Along the way they learned about the impact of coastal land loss, pollution, and environmental hazards, as well as efforts to build more sustainable and socially just communities.

Students in the course recorded interviews with experts from research organizations and community advocacy groups along the way, focusing on a variety of topics like coastal land loss, “Cancer Alley,” and Cajun culture, which were edited together to create this bonus episode. We hope you enjoy it!

This special bonus episode was produced through the Lives of the Mind Augustana Podcast Network Initiative. As of the 2019-20 academic year, Lives of the Mind became an Augie-focused podcasting network. As an established podcast, we’re happy to provide the infrastructure for Augie students and faculty to use this popular medium to express themselves and share knowledge with the greater college and Quad Cities communities. Have a great idea? Apply now!

This episode was edited and produced by Christian Elliott. The voice-over was written and recorded by Thea Gonzalez. Special thanks to Dr. Christopher Strunk, Hunter Ridley, and all the students involved in the project.

COVID-19 Reflections – Augustana President Steve Bahls

President Bahls and senior Christian Elliott social distance in WVIK’s studio

In this episode, student host and LoM Producer Christian Elliott sits down with Augustana College President Steve Bahls in WVIK’s (emptier than usual) studio to talk about the school’s response to COVID-19.

In the interview, Bahls provides behind the scenes insight into some of the milestone decisions in the college’s response, including extending spring break, moving to distance learning, and creating alternatives to regularly scheduled graduation ceremonies. He also discusses plans for resuming classes in the fall and new exciting developments coming soon to Augustana’s campus and gives some words of advice to the graduating class of 2020.

The college’s eighth president, Bahls joined Augustana in 2003. He has written extensively about a wide range of higher education topics, from shared governance to teaching financial literacy. He holds regular open office hours, often in the Brew by the Slough, the coffee house in Augustana’s Center for Student Life. Most evenings and weekends, you’ll find him at Augustana’s music, cultural and athletic events.

Co-Culinary Oral Histories – Augie Alumna Dr. Elizabeth Stigler

In this episode, student hosts Mikaylo Kelly and Olivia Smith interview Augie alumna Dr. Elizabeth Stigler ’10. Dr. Stigler visited campus in October for fall semester’s Symposium Day, “What is a Life Well Lived?”

Dr. Stigler is currently a visiting assistant professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at Miami University and previously served as the assistant director of LGBTQ+ Programs and Services at Marquette University.

In the interview, she discusses her work implementing LGBTQ+ inclusivity training and her interdisciplinary Ph.D research in food studies.

Her current book project, Houby Hunters and Kolace Bakers: Exploring Memory and Identity Through Czech Foodways, explores the culinary ecologies of memory that interanimate individual, communal and historical identities.

Read more about Dr. Stigler on Augustana’s website.

Special thanks to Jared Johnson at WVIK and Dr. Jessica Schultz for helping us arrange this interview and to Christian Elliott for editing this episode.


The Impact of Public Health Studies – Augie Alumna Christine Harb

Christine Harb

In this month’s episode, student guest hosts Maria Wood and Arti Kornoski interview Augie alumna Christine Harb, MPH, M3. Harb graduated from Augustana in 2015 with majors in Biology and Pre-Medicine and a minor in Biochemistry.

In this interview, Harb describes what drew her to public health, including an Augustana study abroad trip to Nicaragua. Christine completed a Masters of Public Health at the University of Iowa, then matriculated into A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. After completing her first two years of medical school and passing her medical board examinations, she accepted a position as a Medical Education Fellow.

While living in Kirksville, a rural Missouri town, Christine describes the confrontation between her personal identity and a social setting that was vastly different from her educational upbringing. She also discusses the shock of encountering poverty during her public health fieldwork to expand healthcare to the uninsured and how she became a liaison for the Amish as well as a Natural Family Planning instructor during this time. In addition to fieldwork with the Amish and rural communities, Harb has been a key scientific investigator into the relationship between transgender patients, their medical providers and the healthcare system at large, covering such topics as Pap smears and sexual health in her lectures and research.

Through raising public awareness about systems of wellness (and providing her patients with culturally respectful options on their terms), Christine Harb hopes to serve as an example for future medical students who want to make a difference in the world.

Searching for Freedom from the Prison Industrial Complex- Dr. Yusef Salaam

In this month’s episode, student guest hosts Imani Muhammad and Tavian Cervantez sit down with a heroic figure, Dr. Yusef Salaam.

Dr. Salaam visited Augustana’s campus on March 7th in commemoration of the Black Power Symposium organized in 1969 by students in Augustana’s Afro-American Society, which currently is called the Black Student Union.

Dr. Salaam is a member of the “Exonerated Five,” a group of Black and Latino teens falsely charged and subsequently convicted of a brutal attack and rape in 1989 in New York City’s Central Park. After six years and eight months in prison, Dr. Salaam was exonerated. His experience led him to advocate for criminal justice reform, earn a doctorate and receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama.

Dr. Salaam uses his platform as one of the famed
“Exonerated Five” to speak out against the prison industrial complex in hopes for a more just
society. Our interview covers the spiritual roots of Dr. Salaam’s powerful message and contextualizes
religious doctrine through contemporary problems such as racism, tribalism, and personal struggle.

A Life of Theatre – Dr. Corinne Johnson

Corrine Johnson

In this month’s episode, LoM hosts Christian Elliott and Isabel Dawson sit down with Dr. Corinne (Cory) Johnson, a Professor in the Theatre Department at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

In the interview, Dr. Johnson shares anecdotes from her long career as a theatre actor and director. She has worked for the Minnesota Festival Theatre, Old Creamery Theatre, and Webbed Foot Theatre in New York City. She got into comedy working for Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop, an improv and sketch comedy theatre in Minneapolis and in the touring company of Second City, whose sketch comedy has been compared to Saturday Night Live. She has also made her mark on the local theatre community, working with the QC Theatre Workshop and Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse. In 2017, she was awarded the Gold Medallion Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, considered the most prestigious award for theatre education.

We’re thrilled to share what we hope will be the first of many podcast episodes featuring professors and other thinkers and do-ers from the Quad Cities area!

Hip Hop Ethnography – Dr. Corey Miles

Corey J. Miles

In this month’s episode, LoM hosts Vanessa Dominguez and Ethan Conley-Keck sit down with Dr. Corey J. Miles, former Diversity Fellow at Augustana College and current Assistant Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The interview covers Dr. Miles’s research, a sociological ethnography of rural black American hip hop. Freestyle hip hop, Miles shows, is a diverse and inclusive genre (or more accurately, “culture”) that allows artists to depict the black experience free from the constraints of “white” English language. Miles discusses the relationship between hip hop (socially constructed as “black music”) and over policing and mass incarceration, the issue of authenticity for artists, and hip hop’s “democratic” and liberatory power.

Navigating Queer Identity – Further Reading

Want to learn more about the complexities of navigating queer identity discussed in Tavian and Isabel’s podcast episode? Here’s a complete list of the sources they mentioned:

#BlackSkinWhiteSin: For Those Still Haunted by The Sheets (Why the Counter-Narrative Matters), The Feminist Wire article on purity in the black church

Your Sex is Not Radical, article on identity/sexuality disjunctures

Goldberg, Jonathan. “Discovering America.” Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities, Fordham University Press, 2010, pp. 179–222.

Jordan, Mark D. “The Care of Sodomites.” The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, The University of Chicago, 1997, pp. 92–113.

Jordan, Mark D. “A Prelude After Nietzsche: The Responsibilities of a History of Sodomy.” The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, The University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, The Crossing Press, 1984, pp. 53–59.

Townes, Emelie M. “Vanishing into Limbo: The Moral Dilemma of Identity as Property and Commodity .” Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, Palgrave MacMillan, 2006, pp. 29–55.

Navigating Queer Identity – Bonus Episode

In this special bonus episode, student hosts Tavian Cervantez and Julia Harris discuss the complexities of queer identity through the lenses of poetry and gender and sexuality theory. Tavian and Julia apply theory to the societal expectations and stereotypes queer young people face every day. This episode also features an in-depth interview with fellow Augustana student Mikaylo Kelly about their lived experience as a person who is non-binary.

This podcast episode was produced as a class project for Dr. Michelle Wolff’s Sexual Ethics course through the Lives of the Mind Augustana Podcast Network initiative.

As of the 2019-20 academic year, Lives of the Mind became an Augie-focused podcasting network. As an established podcast, we’re happy to provide the infrastructure for Augie students and faculty to use this popular medium to express themselves and share knowledge with the greater college and Quad Cities communities. Have a great idea? Apply now!

From FYI to Foreign Service – Augie Alumna Melinda Pavek

Melinda Pavek

In this month’s episode, LoM hosts Christian Elliott and Charlie Nawara sit down with Augustana alumna Melinda Pavek (’92) at the studios of WVIK, Quad Cities NPR. Since graduating, Melinda has worked in U.S. embassies across the world with the U.S. Department of State. Currently, she’s the Director of Science, Innovation, and Development at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. The episode covers the value of a liberal arts education, the nature of U.S.-Japan relations, and why it’s okay if you don’t pass your exams on the first try!