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Open Forum on “The Nature of Inequality” on Nov. 29

Sharper Focus, Wider Lens post card

Since 2011, Sharper Focus/Wider Lens has offered students, faculty, staff and the Greater Lansing community the opportunity to grapple with important issues or questions in a trans-disciplinary format.

The next SFWL discussion will occur at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29. and will be covering “The Nature of Inequality” with the help of associate professor and SFWL coordinator John Beck along with six MSU faculty speakers.

“We ran this same topic in the series a few years ago and we now have five new panelists with fresh perspectives to share. It’s an engaging topic and an engaging panel,” Beck said.

The free event is open to all and will take place at the MSU Union Ballroom.

“There are many ways that these panelists will help us to understand why identifying and addressing inequality is a need that knows no societal, national or temporal borders. Though we may think we know a lot about inequality, the diversity of the research of these panelists will help us see we are missing key understandings,” Beck said.

Learn More About the Faculty Speakers

Ana Bracic, Assistant Professor, Political Science

Ana Bracic, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the political science department and a member of the Minority Politics Initiative at MSU. From 2014 to 2019, she was an assistant professor in the department of political science at the University of Oklahoma. Her research is predominantly in the field of comparative politics, and focuses on questions of human rights, discrimination, the persistence of social exclusion, and ground-level effectiveness of human rights institutions. Most of her research relies on lab-in-field and survey experiments.

Amanda Flaim, Assistant Professor, James Madison College

Amanda Flaim is an assistant professor at Michigan State University’s James Madison College of Public Affairs, and the Department of Sociology; also, she is affiliate faculty of the Asian Studies Center and the Center for Gender in Global Context. Flaim is a political sociologist who uses ethnographic, participatory, and survey methods to understand problems and paradoxes in human rights policy and development programs in mainland Southeast Asia.

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez, Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning

Deyanira Nevárez Martínez, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Urban & Regional Planning Program in the School of Planning, Design, and Construction. Her research has focused on the role of the state in homelessness and housing precarity and informality. A major theme in her work is the criminalization of poverty in the United States. Additionally, her work has analyzed issues of gentrification, racial equity in land-use and transportation, racial segregation, and bail reform.

Nakia Parker, Assistant Professor, History

Nakia D. Parker, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the history department. Parker is a historian of nineteenth-century U.S. slavery, African American, and American Indian history. Parker’s research has received funding and awards from several institutions, including the Association of American University Women (AAUW), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and the Western History Association.

Jennifer Sykes, Associate Professor, James Madison College

Jennifer Sykes’s research focuses on poverty and inequality. Her work examines vulnerable families and their relations with the state. Her recent projects and publications involve tax policy, namely the Earned Income Tax Credit, and child protection with an emphasis on child neglect. She received her bachelor’s degree in social relations and psychology at Michigan State University and her master’s degree in social policy from the University of York in the United Kingdom.

Matthew Zierler, Associate Dean, Honors College

Matthew Zierler, Ph.D., an associate professor in James Madison College, has served as an Honors College faculty fellow with the National/International Fellowships & Scholarships (NIFS) Office since August 2013. Zierler earned his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from The George Washington University and his master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching interests are in foreign policy, international security, international relations theory, international law, and international cooperation.

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