Race

Cord Whitaker gives a lecture in the Dilworth Room at IAS

On November 1, 2019, Cord Whitaker, Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study Member in the School of Historical Studies, gave the talk "Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-...

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Like many Americans, my family and I were riveted by the Roots miniseries when it first aired in January 1977. I vividly recall sitting in front of the television with my mother, father, sister, and two brothers, watching the story of Alex...

Ruha Benjamin speaks during an After Hours conversation at IAS

I spent part of my childhood living with my grandma just off Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. My school was on the same street as our house, but I still spent many a day trying to coax kids on my block to “play school” with me on my grandma’s...

Michael G. Hanchard during a 2014 Social Science seminar on "Sociology’s Promise"

As sociologists have reminded us, race, like power, is a relational concept. A so-called race is invariably defined in distinction to other presumed races. Where racial reasoning and the practice of comparison have combined in modern politics is...

Book cover for "Black Metaphors" by Cord J. Whitaker

In the late Middle Ages, Christian conversion could wash a black person’s skin white—or at least that is what happens when a black sultan converts to Christianity in the late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century English romance the King of...

In 2019–20, Cord J. Whitaker, Member in the School of Historical Studies and Associate Professor at Wellesley College, is interested in the history and development of race...

#MeToo has been such a big catalyst for what looks every day more like the emergence of a new feminist movement, because it speaks to women across the class, race, and sexuality divides. The movement points to the fact that sexual harassment and...

How might a politics centered on spectacular black death marginalize the concerns of black women? Member Shatema Threadcraft, Ralph E. and Doris M. Hansmann Member in the School of Social Science, explored this question during ...

When leading church elders posted the wedding banns on the church doors in Cornwall, Connecticut, in the summer of 1825, all hell broke loose. The banns proclaimed that Harriett Gold, a nineteen-year-old white woman, was to marry Elias Boudinot,...

I first met Emery Robinson at Albert Leonard Junior High School in New Rochelle, New York. He was two grades behind me, a seventh grader when I was in the ninth grade. He was known as a manchild, not only in terms of size, because he was much...

In his 1951 poem “Harlem,” Langston Hughes, writer and social activist, famously questioned the outcome of a “dream deferred.” Does such a dream dry up, fester, stink, crust and sugar over, or sag like a heavy load, he pondered. Then, foreshadowing the hundreds of race riots that would take place in the 1960s and 1970s, he ends his poem with an emphatic query: Or does it explode?

In 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case of Grutter v. Bollinger and upheld the right of the University of Michigan Law School to use race as a criterion for admissions. At the time, the majority speculated that in...