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This Seminar addresses the legacy of slavery in the western hemisphere, focusing on African-American slavery in the United States.  Presenters and discussants participate in dialogue on the history of slavery, its neurobehavioral and cultural underpinnings, the social, economic, and political factors facilitating ongoing racism and inequities, and the consequences for ancestors of enslaved peoples and enslaving peoples in the modern world.  Members of this seminar include anthropologists, clergy, historians, neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, and other scholars and guests who share an interest in learning from the collective memories of slavery, determining what must be done to heal the wounds left behind by slavery, and determining how to move toward equitable and healthy societies in which all peoples can thrive.

Professor Emily Anderson

Dr. John Delfs


Meeting Schedule

10/13/2022 Zoom
11:30 AM
THE POWER OF STRANGERS: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World
Joe Keohane, Independent Scholar


What if strangers—so often blamed for our most pressing political, social, and personal problems—are actually the solution?

In The Power of Strangers, Joe Keohane sets out on a journey to discover what happens when we bridge the distance between us and people we don’t know. He learns that while we’re wired to sometimes fear, distrust, and even hate strangers, people and societies that have learned to connect with strangers benefit immensely.

Digging into a growing body of cutting-edge research on the surprising social and psychological benefits that come from talking to strangers, Keohane finds that even passing interactions can enhance empathy, happiness, and cognitive development, ease loneliness and isolation, and root us in the world, deepening our sense of belonging.

All the while, Keohane gathers practical tips from experts on how to talk to strangers, and tries them out himself, in the wild, to awkward, entertaining, and frequently poignant effect.

Notes: Please RSVP to to receive Zoom link.
12:00 PM
ADVANCING HUMAN RIGHTS: An Innovative Roadmap for Progress: Joint meeting with Innovation in Education and Ethics, Moral Education, and Society, and the University Seminar
Jack Snyder, Columbia Univeristy


Why aren’t we making greater progress in achieving basic human rights for all?

Prof. Snyder argues that we have reached an impasse in our efforts to achieve rights for all. He contends that “where local power and politics lead, rights follow.” But activists prioritize universal legal and moral norms, backed by the public shaming of violators. This book is an innovative roadmap for addressing a broad agenda of human rights concerns including impunity for atrocities, dilemmas of free speech in the age of social media, entrenched abuses of women’s rights, and more.

Exploring the historical development of human rights around the globe, Prof. Snyder shows that liberal rights–based states have experienced a competitive edge over authoritarian regimes in the modern era. He focuses on the role of power, the interests of individuals and the groups they form, and the dynamics of bargaining and coalitions among those groups.

The path to human rights entails transitioning from a social order grounded in patronage and favoritism to one dedicated to equal treatment under impersonal rules. Activists, policymakers, and others attempting to advance rights should embrace a tailored strategy, one that acknowledges local power structures and cultural practices.