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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.

Emily Anderson

John Delfs

Eleanor Xu

Meeting Schedule

09/21/2023 Zoom
12:00 PM


10/26/2023 Zoom
12:00 PM
Why Public Space Matters
Setha Low, CUNY Graduate Center


Public spaces -- where people from all walks of life play, work, meet, talk, read, think, debate, and protest -- are vital to a healthy civic life. And, as the eminent scholar of public space Setha Low argues in her acclaimed new book Why Public Space Matters, even fleeting moments of visibility and encounter in these spaces tend to foster a broader worldview and our willingness to accept difference. Such experiences also enhance flexible thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and inclusiveness.

Sidewalks and plazas offer business opportunities for small-scale entrepreneurs who cannot afford store space. Public parks have long provided major cultural attractions, from plays to concerts, at little or no cost to the public. Central squares have a storied tradition as arenas for demonstrations and political protests. Parks and waterways create sustainable greenways, and during disasters, all manner of public spaces become centers for food delivery and shelter.

Yet we are losing public spaces to accelerated urban development and the belief that public spaces are expendable. Just as important is the broad-scale and ongoing privatization of public space by corporate actors. Low explores why public spaces matter today, how they are at risk, and what we can do about protecting these essential places that support our everyday lives. Finally, she shows how we can work to promote public space protection and expansion at both the grassroots and global levels.

11/16/2023 Zoom
12:00 PM
Sojourner Truth Was A New Yorker, and She Didn't Say That
Nell Irvin Painter, Emerita at Princeton University


Dr Painter will talk about her new book on Sojourner Truth entitled, Sojourner Truth Was A New Yorker, and She Didn't Say That. The new book and presentation will focus on the importance of New York State in Truth's life and on her career as a self-published author of an as-told-to autobiography.

12/14/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
6:30 PM


05/02/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University / Zoom
7:30 PM
Slavery, Memory and Economic History--Joint meeting with (503)
Gavin Wright, Stanford University