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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Print Archive
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EMU's College of Arts and Sciences illuminates Detroit during 2021-2022 academic year

Eastern Michigan's College of Arts and Sciences is celebrating the rich, deep history of the city of Detroit with a series of free public events.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Michigan University has launched a Detroit theme year to highlight the ways that the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences can add to understanding of the city.

The college and its programs will host more than 30 events starting Jan. 13 throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, all of which explore and reveal the history of Detroit.

This year will mark the first year that the College of Arts and Sciences has designed and created a theme year, which includes presentations, performances, exhibits, discussions, workshops, excursions and movie showings; all events are free to the public.

The keynote speaker for the year, Kevin Boyle, is a 2021-2022 McAndless Scholar, William Smith Mason professor of American History at Northwestern University and a Detroit native. Boyle has already given four keynote presentations and student workshops which will continue into 2022. He is currently working with Netflix who purchased the rights to his book "Arc of Justice" to create a movie adaption.

“This is the first time that we’ve done a theme year, and it’s something that we’ve been wanting to do for a while and hope to continue doing,” James Egge, professor of history at EMU said. “We were thinking of how we could encourage students and faculty of other departments to come to professor Boyle’s talks and participate and it occurred to us that we might want to have a theme year.”

The vision that Egge had for the theme year was to create something truly inclusive across the various disciplines and programs involved, as well as to tap into the deep well of history and change that are found in Detroit.   

“We want to make sure that we come up with topics that math and computer science and physics can speak to as well, and I think we’ve started to get some of that,” Egge said. “For example we had a great talk from the Chemistry department, Professor Gavin Edwards, talking about pollution in Detroit.” 

The theme year has held lectures and workshops with professors ranging from science, history, and the arts and covering topics ranging from pollution in the city, community policing, and the effects of property tax in the city. EMU marching band has performed a tribute to the music of Motown twice, playing a medley of the label’s iconic songs.

More information about upcoming events, as well as a blog covering current and past events can be found at