Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces


Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces 

A discussion with Dr. Spoma Jovanovic 

Wed, April 7, 2021 6:00-7:30pm 

ZOOM Link for the talk: 

Upheaval, pursuit of justice, resistance, passion, and forging ahead in uncertain times define the public sphere today. Against this backdrop struggles over exercising free speech and initiating citizen action are hardly easy. College students find themselves impacted by urban race wars, a global pandemic, and climate crises, giving rise to questions of “what can I possibly do that will make the world better, kinder, more fair and just?” Collective action is on the rise, while productive communication in our communities is challenged by colliding discourses and values. This presentation offers insight into, and examples of people who have disrupted and challenged injustices. Though tensions remain between free expression, public engagement, and activist interventions, history reminds us that our communities and our campuses are important public spaces for the difficult work of conversations, debates, and creative expression necessary to advance understanding, courage, and social change for a just world. 

Spoma Jovanovic, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Since 2001, she has been teaching students there how to collaborate with community members on programs and activist strategies designed to enhance ethical conversations and action related to civic literacy, cultural understanding, democratic participation, and social justice. She is the editor of the forthcoming book, Finding Expression in Contested Public Spaces: Pathways to Free Speech and Civic Engagement (2021, Lexington Press), co-author of Communication Ethics: Activities for Critical Thinking and Reflection (2021, Kendall-Hunt), and author of Democracy, Dialogue and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro (2012, University of Arkansas Press).


Dr. Martha McCaughey - Professor of Sociology -  Martha McCaughey, Ph.D. | Department of Sociology (

Dr. Brian MacHarg - Director of ACT -

Dr. Adam Hege - Associate Professor of Public Health Education -

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Published: Mar 18, 2021 5:16pm