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Students, Faculty & Staff, Research, Alumni, Professional Development

Harnessing Technology for Social Good – 2022

February 17, 2022


Lecture Series

This University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work lecture series is designed to meet the profession’s grand challenge of harnessing technology for social good.

The American Academy for Social Work and Social Welfare spearheaded the Grand Challenges of Social Work, representing 12 challenges focused on improving individual and family well-being, strengthening the social fabric, and helping create a more just society. Named after the grand challenge of “Harnessing Technology for Social Good”, this lecture series is designed to present innovative applications of technology powered by science in order to expand new opportunities and collaborations for reaching more people with greater impact on society’s most vexing social problems.

Registration is required. These events are free and open to the public. 1.0 CEU’s will be available for LCSW/LSW and LCPC/LPC.

Past Presentations

Digitally enabled democracy? Challenges and opportunities for harnessing the power of the digital for progressive social change and a deeper democracy

March 11, 2022 – 12-1 p.m. CST
Professor Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Aarhus University, Denmark

In this talk Professor Fominaya will provide some conceptual tools and examples to help activists think through the use of digital tools and the internet. She’ll first discuss some of the key “divides” encountered in the digital sphere. She will then discuss some of the challenges faced by activists trying to harness the power of the digital for progressive change, before providing some powerful examples of good practice and innovation.

Cristina Flesher Fominaya (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of Global Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark. She is also Editor in Chief of the journal Social Movement Studies, and co-founder of the open access social movements journal Interface. Her three most recent books are Democracy Reloaded: Inside Spain’s Political Laboratory from 15-M to Podemos (Oxford University Press 2020); Social Movements in a Globalized World 2nd Edition (Palgrave Macmillan/ Red Globe 2020) and The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary European Social Movements: Protest in Turbulent Times (2020). She has published widely on social movements, politics, and democracy: Google Scholar Profile

Can Marginalized Groups Use Social Media to Effect Political Change?

February 10, 2022 – 12-1 p.m. CST
Dr. Emmanuelle Richez, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Over the last decade, more and more marginalized groups have used social media to call attention to issues that matter to them, to gain popular support, and to establish a dialogue with political elites. Although many studies focus on how online mobilisation impacts marginalized groups, little scholarship exists that tries to measure the political change brought about by their cyber engagement. Using the Indigenous-led Idle No More movement at the federal level in Canada as a case-study, the presentation will examine whether marginalized groups can use social media to effect political change. It will show that, ultimately, the Idle No More online protests increased the national salience of Indigenous issues temporarily, but without significantly influencing policy outcomes in that area.

Dr. Emmanuelle Richez is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Her research focuses on the different avenues through which ethno-cultural minorities can have their rights recognized and enforced. As such, she studies the potential of social media and judicial review for rights expansion. Her articles have appeared, among others, in Social Media+ Society, Information, Communication & Society, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science. She is a research affiliate of the Centre d’analyse politique – Constitution Fédéralisme at the Université du Québec à Montréal as well as of the Courts & Politics Research Group of South-Western Ontario. She serves as a federally-appointed member of the Official Languages Rights Expert Panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. She holds a PhD in political science from McGill University.


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