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  • Thursday, November 30, 2017
  • 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
  • Meeter Center Lecture Hall

Stealing an Education

Professor Clarence Joldersma

This lecture centers on a media report from Akron, Ohio that an African-American single mother, Kelley Williams-Bolar, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “stealing an education.” It was a felony conviction for theft of over $30,000 and falsifying government documents. Media narrated the story as a matter of criminal justice, adding certain human-interest elements such as personal struggle, individual misfortune, and trying to live the American Dream. I contend the media narrative is too narrow and surface-like, and needs retelling with a broader social context and a deeper understanding of justice. Using Judith Butler’s concept of precarity to broader our perspective, and Jacques Derrida’s idea of justice to deepen our understanding of justice, I will turn the story on its head, namely, that if indeed an education was stolen, it was stolen from, not by, Williams-Bolar.


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