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At California State University, San Marcos, a 400-level geography class, “Parks and Protected Areas,” is working with the city of San Marcos to create a communitywide survey that will measure the Parks and Recreation Department’s current areas of success and limitations. Screenshot via Google
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CSUSM Arts & Lecture Series brings wide range of guests to campus

SAN MARCOS — California State San Marcos has announced its slate of speakers and performers for its spring semester Arts & Lecture series.

The list includes musical performers, a dancer, scholars on issues such as criminal justice and climate change, an inspirational speaker and more. Many of the guests originally hail from California, with some San Diego guests in the mix as well.

“This season really is exciting,” said Gina Jones, Arts & Lectures program planner for the CSUSM College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences. “We have renowned speakers and excellent performances in store. Some definite can’t-miss events that the public should be aware of.”

In its brochure for the forthcoming slate, Arts & Lectures gives an ode to those who made scheduling the series possible.

“All events are made possible by CSUSM faculty, staff and students as well as community members whose input helps bring exceptional guests to campus to present diverse perspectives that enrich campus life and expand learning opportunities for CSUSM students,” states the brochure.

Flores Forbes, a professor and administrator at Columbia University in New York and a San Diego native, will kick off the series on Feb. 12. Forbes, a former member of the Black Panther Party civil rights activist group, will speak about the issue of mass incarceration through the lens of “race, literacy and education in America.”

The brochure says he will discuss how they were all “used as a weapon against the enslaved and how it is currently used to measure demand for the carceral state.” And it will be through the lens of the “exceptions clause” in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Forbes — whose scholarship focuses on urban planning and who authored the books “Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in the Era of Mass Incarceration and “Will You Die With Me? My Life and the Black Panther Party— said he looks forward to coming back to where he grew up.

“I am very interested in the work that is going on around criminal justice change, and I think there is great work going on in California in general and San Diego County in particular, so any contribution I can make to that dialogue is a high priority for me,” said Forbes. “We need to change the narrative about what is happening to the people in prison as they are slaves for the economies of states who make money of their labor.”

Another California native, Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Judy Carmichael — who is now based in New York City — will also return home to put on a March 5 show and discussion for the CSUSM crowd. San Diego guitarist Larry Koonse will join her in an event co-sponsored by the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad.

Carmichael called Koonse one of her “favorite collaborators” and that she will “jump at any excuse to come back” to the Golden State.

“I’ll talk about improvisation, what makes jazz special and how I feel jazz could only have been invented in America and how it reflects the American experience,” said Carmichael. “We’ll illustrate how improvisation works and discuss how listening skills can be improved by listening to jazz, especially in an age when people have become more visual and inward looking instead of genuinely noticing what’s around them around them and listening with intent.”

Climate change and the issue of domestic violence will also be part of the schedule.

For the climate issue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kerry Emanuel will speak about the issue of hurricanes in the era of global climate change. His talk, scheduled for March 24, is titled “Hurricanes and Climate: A Physics-Based Approach.”

Emanuel said in an email that his talk at CSUSM is part of a broader effort he is making to speak to younger crowds at universities “to get them interested in bringing science (not just statistics) to bear on estimating climate change risks.”

“A good estimation of risk is, in my view, essential both for preparing for climate change and for motivating people to do something about it,” Emanuel said. “Many risk assessments, for example by the insurance industry, are strictly actuarial and are based entirely on historical data. These are often badly misleading because there has already been enough climate change to make them out of date. I will illustrate these points using the problem of hurricane risk.”

Jackson Katz will speak the day before Emanue on March 23. He will focus on the “bystander approach” within the issue of domestic violence in a lecture titled “Violence and Silence.”

“In my talk, I will address the ongoing problem of domestic and sexual violence by defining it not as a ‘women’s issue’ that good men help out with, but as a men’s issue — across the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic spectrum,” said Katz, who runs the group Mentors in Violence Prevention and formerly lived in the Los Angeles suburb city Long Beach. “I will also be talking about the ways in which friends, teammates, classmates, colleagues and co-workers — of all genders, but especially men — can challenge and interrupt the abusive behaviors of their peers, ranging from casual sexist comments to catcalls on the street to potential sexual assaults.”

All of the events will be held in either the University Student Union Ballroom or in the CSUSM Performance Hall in the Arts Building.