Social Sciences on Tap

On the second Thursday of every month, faculty from the School of Social Sciences discuss topics of local, national, and global importance and engage in a lively conversation with the community. Come join us!

Next Event

Check back later for more information on the next Social Sciences on Tap event!

Previous Talks

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - "Disability in the Media: Why Representation is Important"

According to the 2010 Census, 1 in 5 Americans has a disability; however, most people have limited knowledge about laws regarding disabilities, and poor understanding of the issues that those with disabilities face. One reason for this may be the dramatic underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the media. People with visible or invisible disabilities are largely excluded from television, movies, and other media. Dr. Adam, Assistant Professor of Psychology, will discuss research in this area and the impact that lack of visibility has on individuals and society.

Thursday, December 10, 2020 - "The Police as Crime Fighters: Sorting Myths from Reality"

The public and media have long been fascinated with policing and their day-to-day activities, a curiosity often fulfilled by the numerous police TV shows found across all networks and streaming services. These shows portray the police as efficient crime fighters chasing down violent criminals and keeping society safe. But do these narratives reflect reality or are they generating problematic myths about contemporary policing? Join us as we explore the idea of “police as crime fighters” by using national and local data to illuminate officer activities, enforcement patterns, and whether the police are effective in reducing crime. We will conclude by discussing how the “police as crime fighter” narrative plays a central role in shaping contemporary police practices and reform efforts.

Thursday, November 12, 2020 - "Anti-Vaccinationists and Smallpox Vaccination: Science, State, and Society in Chile and the Atlantic World (1870-1930)"

Dr. Quinn Dauer, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies, presents this month's topic. A world in the grips of a killer pandemic. Skepticism about a potential vaccine. A society that questioned the government’s intervention into their bodies and lives. What else could it be but smallpox in fin-de-siècle Chile? The dissemination of the smallpox vaccine occurred through global networks that transmitted goods, people, and ideas as well as diseases beginning in the late eighteenth century. The eradication of smallpox through the distribution of the vaccine and passage of mandatory vaccination laws was not a story of linear progress of medicalization. Instead, using the same global networks, anti-vaccinationists distributed their critiques of statistical studies that showed the efficacy of the smallpox vaccine and contested the necessity of obligatory vaccination laws during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Join us for a look at the politics of vaccination and what this history can teach us today.

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - "Why Voting Matters"

With the 2020 November election fast approaching, you may be getting excited to cast your vote. Yet over 40% of eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the last presidential election year in 2016, and still fewer vote in important down-ballot races. Please join our multi-disciplinary panel, moderated by Dr. Margot Morgan of our Political Science program, to find out why your vote matters and how to make sure your vote counts. Joining her will be Dr. Adam Maksl from Journalism and Media, Dr. Jennifer Ortiz from Criminology & Criminal Justice, Dr. Robert Rennie from History, and Dr. Rhonda Wrzenski of Political Science for an informative and inspiring discussion.

February 13, 2020 - "The History of IU Southeast: An Oral History Perspective"

Dr. Elizabeth Gritter, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Local and Oral History, will present a talk on the history of IU Southeast through an oral history lens. As campus historian and director of the IUS division of the IU Bicentennial Oral History Project, she and her student workers have conducted more than fifty oral histories on IUS history. She will give an overview of the history of IU Southeast and then illuminate it with excerpts from oral histories.

January 9, 2020 - "Profit over Justice: How the Privatization of Criminal Justice Services Corrupts the Justice System"

Topic: Profit over Justice: How the Privatization of Criminal Justice Services Corrupts the Justice System

Dr. Jennifer Ortiz, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, will speak about how privatization negatively affects the criminal justice system by placing profit over justice. Although state legislatures believed that privatizing criminal justice systems would result in cost-savings, the privatization of prisons and community supervision services lead to more problems than solutions. Dr. Ortiz will draw data from national and local sources in addition to her ongoing three-year study examining the state of reentry in the Kentuckiana area.

May 9, 2019 - “Last Lecture: Thirty Years at IU Southeast”

Topic: Dr. Cliff Staten, “Last Lecture: Thirty Years at IU Southeast”

We have a memorable Social Sciences On Tap evening planned for May to mark the occasion of Dr. Cliff Staten’s thirty years at IU Southeast. As I meet with alumni, Dr. Staten’s name regularly emerges as one of the faculty who greatly impacted our students’ lives through his mentorship and by adding international depth to our curriculum and region. He’s made an indelible imprint on Southern Indiana and IU Southeast. In August 1989, Dr. Cliff Staten began his career at IU Southeast as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He runs the Model United Nations simulations for local colleges and high schools, in addition to his extensive offerings in political science. Most recently, Dr. Staten began a radio show, called the International Power Hour on Horizon Radio. Join us to learn more about his experiences and impact on our region.

March 14, 2019 - "Civic Leadership – Solving Community Problems"

Topic: Civic Leadership – Solving Community Problems (Part of the Civic Engagement Series)
Moderator: Dr. Melissa Fry, Director, Applied Research and Education Center

  • Connor Allen, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Rita Shourds, Align Southern Indiana

Discussion topics:

  • Defining the Problem
  • Building Coalitions
  • Funding Your Initiatives

February 14, 2019 - "Early Care and Education: Improving Everyone’s Bottom Line"

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Fry, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Applied Research and Education Center

An estimated seventy-seven percent of Southern Indiana children birth to five live in homes where all parents work. Less than half of these kids are enrolled in care that is subject to any regulation and less than one-quarter are in high quality care. More neural connections are formed from birth to age five than at any other stage in the lifespan. Stagnant U.S. incomes and gendered ideologies of child care, however, have created a dysfunctional market where workers cannot afford the cost of high quality early care and education. Child care workers earn roughly the same wages as fast food workers, creating little incentive for investments in training and education that can produce quality care. Our communities pay a high price for the failure to ensure that all children have quality language rich early childhood environments. Dr. Melissa Fry will discuss the economic and quality of life impacts of access to high quality affordable care for children birth to age five, nationally and in Southern Indiana.


Dr. Melissa Fry is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Applied Research and Education Center (AREC). She was recently named Indiana University Bicentennial Professor for 2019-2020. The AREC produces issue based regional studies, engages community-based research, and conducts needs assessments and program evaluations. Dr. Fry’s research interests focus on the relationship between public policy and social inequality and the role of nonprofit organizations in mediating this relationship. She also studies the roles of diverse sectors in building resilient communities.

January 10, 2019 - "Holidays in Asian Countries"

"Holidays in Asian Countries"

Presenter: Dr. Yu Shen, Professor of History & International Studies

Here in the U.S., the holiday season of 2018 is ending soon, but the holiday season in some other parts of the world is just beginning. Dr. Shen will take you to China, Japan and Korea, and share her knowledge and experience about how these countries set up and observe their holidays. The topic is fun and informative; it is also culturally and politically illustrative of the countries in the presentation.

Biography: Dr. Shen was born in Beijing, China. She came to the United States for her Ph.D. studies in history. She has regularly traveled to China, and has been to Japan numerous times. She was a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester in South Korea. She offers history courses on these countries, as well as on the relationships between these countries and between Asia and the United States.

Please contact Dr. Kelly A. Ryan at if you would like more information on the series.

Campus Events

Summer Pops Concert

Summer Pops Concert

June 4th, 2022

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Summer Discovery Days: Natural Sciences & Nursing

Summer Discovery Days: Natural Sciences & Nursing

June 9th, 2022

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Summer Discovery Days: Business & Education

Summer Discovery Days: Business & Education

June 13th, 2022

10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Music Admission & Scholarship Auditions

Music Admission & Scholarship Auditions

August 6th, 2022

All day event

Week of Welcome: Musician Angie K

Week of Welcome: Musician Angie K

August 23rd, 2022

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM

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