Against the Grain Speaker Series Features Bill Ayers and Other Leading Voices

In 2009, the Jan Term Speaker Series at Saint Mary's College features Bill Ayers and four other provocative speakers throughout the month. Ayers was a political lightning rod during the 2008 presidential race due to Barack Obama's professional associations with the former 1960s radical.

The impressive array of contemporary voices on campus for Jan Term 2009 includes Doug Fine, author of Farewell, My Subaru; Davey D, Bay Area hip hop historian; Chris Carlsson, co-founder of the Critical Mass bicycle movement; and Marilyn Wann, body image activist and author of Fat! So?

More complete event information appears below. Students and members of the community are welcome to attend. For more information, contact the Jan Term Office at (925) 631-4771.


January 7 "Off-the-Grid and Against the Grain."

7 p.m. Soda Center

Doug Fine, a national public radio reporter and author of Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living, talks to students about practical ways to reduce their carbon footprint. In Farewell, My Subaru, Fine writes about raising his own food on his ranch in New Mexico, living outside the electricity grid and running his vehicle on vegetable oil rather than fossil fuel. Sponsored by Jan Term, Disney Forum and Project Green.

Smithsonian Magazine Profile

USA Today Profile

 January 12 "Against Traffic and Against the Grain."
7 p.m. Soda Center

As a founding member of the Critical Mass bicycle protest collective, Chris Carlsson provides a unique perspective in living life against the flow of the mainstream. He will discuss his new book: Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today. Sponsored by Jan Term.

Chris Carlsson, "Building an Anti-Economy," Orion Magazine, Sept. 2008

 January 13 "Hip Hop Politics."

7 p.m. Soda Center

Davey D is co-founder of the Bay Area Hip Hop Coalition and editor of the Daily News Hip Hop Website. Born in the Bronx, Davey D emceed for TDK and Avengers before attending UC Berkeley. Once in the Bay Area, he began deejaying and is now a regular contributor to KALX, KPFA and KMEL radio. A member of the Bay Area Black Journalist Association, Davey D writes a hip hop and politics column for the San Jose Mercury News. Sponsored by Jan Term, Disney Forum, the High Potential Program and the Department of Communication.

Davey D, "Rap Generation is Deeply Involved in the Obama Campaign," San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 22, 2008

Davey D November 2008 radio program, including an interview with Reverend Jeremiah Wright

January 21 "The Real F-Word: Celebrating Weight Diversity, Confronting Fears, and Feeling Fabulous."
7 p.m. Soda Center

Marilyn Wann, author of Fat?SO!, is one of the leaders of the fat activism movement. She writes about discrimination people encounter due to weight, including within the U.S. health care system. An alumna of Stanford, Wann worked on San Francisco's law preventing discrimination based on height or weight. Sponsored by Jan Term, the Disney Forum, the Women's Studies Program, the Women's Resource Center, and the Department of Communication.

Stanford Magazine Profile

SF Weekly Article on Wann and Japan's Thinness Law

January 28 "Trudging Towards Freedom: Building a Movement/Living Our Lives for Peace and Justice."
7:30 p.m. Soda Center

Bill Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago, became a focal point of the 2008 presidential campaign. Described by Republican nominee John McCain as "a washed up terrorist," Ayers was a prominent figure with Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground in the late 1960s and 1970s.

After spending several years living underground as the U.S. government pursued charges against him that it later dropped, Ayers went on to become one of the nation's leading voices on education reform. He will speak to Saint Mary's students about his new book, Teaching toward Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom. Sponsored by Jan Term, the Social Justice Speaker Series and the Disney Forum.

"The Real Bill Ayers" (New York Times, Dec. 5, 2008)

Interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" (Nov. 26, 2008)

Interview on Democracy Now! (Nov. 14, 2008)