Speaker to discuss inequality in America at April 17 talk

Chuck Collins

Campus and community members interested in the national conversation on inequality in modern America can learn more about the issue at an upcoming talk by scholar and activist Chuck Collins.

Collins’ talk, “Reversing Wealth Inequality: The Case for Restoring Progressive Taxation and Bringing Wealth Home,” will look at how both racial and wealth inequality came to be as well as what can be done to address it. The free public lecture will be held in Room 156, Straub Hall on Wednesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m.

The Oregon Humanities Center has selected Collins as the 2018–19 Tzedek Lecturer in the Humanities. His lecture is a part of the center’s theme this year of “The Common Good.”

“Our speakers this year have examined critical topics that impact the world we share, such as the environment and ecology, economic disparity, mental health and incarceration, and technology and ethics,” said Peg Freas Gearhart the center’s communications coordinator.

The Tzedek lecture series is a reference to the Hebrew word for righteousness or justice. The lecture series was inspired the “Ethics After the Holocaust” conference at the UO in 1996. Since 2007, the center has brought 11 Tzedek lecturers to campus.

 “We are living in a time of extraordinary inequality, unprecedented since the Gilded Age a century ago,” Collins writes about his talk. “Yet our national conversation about how to address this challenge is equally polarized. Is there a path to reversing inequality without undermining economic health and prosperity? What is the role of taxation in reducing concentrated wealth and expanding opportunity? How do we build an economy that works for everyone?”

Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C. think tank, where he co-edits the website Inequality.org, and is the author of several books, including “Is Inequality in America Irreversible,” “Bringing Wealth Home” and “Committing to the Common Good.”

The Oregon Humanities Center is an interdisciplinary umbrella organization for the humanities at the UO, Freas Gearhart said. The center supports humanities research by fostering collaboration across disciplines and sponsoring public programs.

“We encourage scholars to articulate their ideas in language that is accessible both to scholars in other fields and to the general public,” she said. “Speakers like Chuck Collins bring community members from the greater Eugene-Springfield area to campus, creating good will between the community and campus.”

To learn more about Collins’ work or the upcoming lecture, read the announcement on the center’s website.

By Bryan Dorn, University Communications