Our 2022 Salon series, Teaching Race History and Reading Banned Books: Conversations on Intellectual Freedom, are evocative discussions from a range of viewpoints about the right of intellectual freedom, the question of whose words and voices are included in public education, and how, when, and by whom such determinations are made. Each Salon features guest speakers with diverse expertise in education, censorship, access, and civil liberties.
Salons at Stowe are 21st-century parlor conversations about contemporary social justice issues. Since 2008, Salons have provided a forum for lively discussion on topics rooted in the 19th century that remain pressing today.
Allison Norrie is a Social Studies teacher and English Learner Academy coordinator for the Fairfield Public Schools. She has developed and executed programs and exhibits on the history of race and politics for the Mark Twain House & Museum as well as the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Voices of Hope, The MacMillan Center, Connecticut Humanities, and The Yale Center for British Art. She has previously published works on “Race, Culture and Colonialism: The Politics of the Heritage Site Gift Shop,” and the “The Fight for Healthy Women: Social Hygiene in Connecticut.” Her current research is focused on equity and architecture in education. Allison is the incoming President of the Association for the Study of Connecticut History.
Stephen Armstrong is the social studies consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education. He is the co-author of the 2014 Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks. Steve is a past president of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Association for the Study of Connecticut History. He is an adjunct instructor in the History Department at Central Connecticut State University.
Jason Villani is a reference and community liaison librarian at the New Britain Public Library. He is the co-chair of the Connecticut Library Consortium’s Social Justice Round Table and committed to critical librarianship. “Critical librarianship is a movement of library workers dedicated to bringing social justice principles into our work in libraries. We aim to engage in discussion about critical perspectives on library practice. Recognizing that we all work under regimes of white supremacy, capitalism, and a range of structural inequalities, how can our work as librarians intervene in and disrupt those systems?” Jason also supports R. David Lankes New Librarianship which recasts the field through a focus on communities and knowledge over collections and buildings. It is about the “why” of libraries and librarianship over the “how.” It all starts with the mission of the librarian: The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. Using these approaches along with an EDI lens will strengthen and position librarianship into the future as key democracy building institutions and radical positive change agents in their communities. In his spare time Jason is a veteran community volunteer DJ, currently in his 20th year broadcasting, on WESU 88.1 FM Wesleyan’s University’s radio station. He does a music show called the Rumpus Room. You can listen and find out more here: mixcloud.com/lordlewis