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Expert on immigration issues to be visiting scholar, speaker at U. of I.

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


poster advertising Rita Simon's lecture at the Levis Center
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Rita Simon has a number of opportunities to speak while a visiting scholar for the Program in Jewish Culture and Society and other units.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Rita J. Simon, a sociologist, professor and prolific author whose interests include immigration policies and public opinion, will spend several days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in September as a visiting scholar for the Program in Jewish Culture & Society and other units. While on campus, she will lecture and speak to students, faculty and the public.

Simon, a University Professor in the Washington College of Law and in the School of Public Affairs at the American University in Washington, D.C., will give a free public lecture on “Immigration the World Over” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Levis Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana. Copies of Simon’s books will be available for purchase at the lecture, and a public reception will follow her talk.

Other free public events include:

10 a.m., Sept. 13, guest on “Focus 580,” broadcast on WILL-AM (580); topic: “Immigration Issues.”

noon, Sept. 14, brown bag lunch hosted by the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and by the School of Social Work; topic and location: “Women in Crime,” 911 S. Sixth St., Champaign.

4:30 p.m., Sept 14, Jewish Culture & Society Workshop; topic and location: “Jewish Immigration,” 232 English Building, 608 S. Wright St., Urbana.

6 p.m., Sept. 15, guest speaker for the Program in Jewish Culture & Society’s annual Kallah, or informal study session; topic and location: “Why is This Immigration Different Than All Other Immigrations?: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America,” Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, 1224 Dempster St., Evanston, Ill.

Simon is the founder and president of the Women’s Freedom Network, and the author or editor of 50 books on topics ranging from women’s issues and women in the criminal justice system, to immigration and transracial adoption.

Most recently she edited “Neither Victim Nor Enemy: Women’s Freedom Network Looks at ‘Gender In America.’ ” The network was founded in 1993 to “seek alternatives to extremist ideological feminism and the anti-feminist traditionalism,” its Web site says. The organization “celebrates the achievements women have made, and it views women’s issues in light of a philosophy that defines women and men as individuals and not in terms of gender.”

Simon is the recipient of Guggenheim and Ford Foundation fellowships. A former editor of American Sociological Review and Justice Quarterly, she now is editor of Gender Issues. She teaches courses on justice and public policy, and on law and society, and also a pro-seminar on justice, law and society.

Simon served as dean of the School of Justice at the American University from 1985 to 1988. She has been a University Professor since 1988.

Prior to going to Washington, Simon taught at Illinois. She also has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yale University and the University of Chicago.

Simon’s work has been published in The Washington Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She has discussed her research and social policy issues on programs such as “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show” and “CBS This Morning.”

Sponsors for Simon’s visit include the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, the Center for Advanced Study, the departments of anthropology, history and sociology, Program for the Study of Religion, School of Social Work, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, Institute of Communications Research, Migration Studies Group, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, the University Library and the U. of I. Foundation.

For more information, contact the Program in Jewish Culture & Society at 217-333-7978,, or