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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

Isaac Sekyi Nana Mensah

All seminars will meet over Zoom for the 2020-2021 academic year. Meeting links provided upon RSVP. Meeting dates and times are subject to change. 

Meeting Schedule

10/08/2020 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Race War: The Trump Administration's Weaponization of Critical Race Theory
Kendall Thomas, Columbia University

11/12/2020 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Race and Public Health
Philip Alcabes, Hunter College, CUNY

12/08/2020 Online Meeting
7:00 PM
James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
Eddie S. Glaude, Princeton University

Notes: Joint meeting with the Seminars on Innovation in Education (511) and Ethics, Moral Education, and Society (585).
01/21/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Participant Discussion of Issues raised by Professors Kendall Thomas, Philip Alcabes, and Eddie Glaude
Moderators:, Emily Anderson, John Delfs, and Sid Greenfield


Professors Thomas, Alcabes, and Glaude in our October, November, and December Seminar presentations, respectively. As starting questions relative to each of these presentations, please consider the following:

(Thomas - Critical Race Theory): What factors, policies and practices within the education system contribute to and sustain the racist telling of American History? How can the educational establishment – and our society at large – facilitate a more honest, and ultimately more healing, narrative?

(Alcabes – Race and Public Health): The differences both in rates of infection and in outcomes such as death, physical disability, mental health, and financial hardship in the COVID-19 pandemic highlight dramatic disparities between white communities and communities of color. Given this increased awareness, what should be done to achieve a more effective and just approach to public health in the United States?

(Glaude – Begin Again/James Baldwin's America): Discussion of overall presentation with attention to two Baldwin's quotes:

"In this debasement and definition of Black people, White people have debased and defined themselves."
"Not everything is lost. Responsibility cannot be lost, it can only be ab

02/11/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Battle for the Bible: Christian Nationalism, White Supremacy, and the Call to Abolish Racism and Poverty in 2021
Liz Theoharis, Union Theological Seminary and the Poor People’s Campaign

03/11/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
Public Memory and Memorials: Moving Toward Justice
Jha D Williams, MASS Design Group

06/17/2021 Online Meeting
12:00 PM
The Call for Reparations in Theological Key
Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary


Just a couple of years ago, three Democratic presidential candidates—Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Julián Castro—endorsed the concept of granting reparations to black Americans affected by slavery and racial discrimination. It is still front and center in many current political debates. Is reparations part of the solution to repairing racial injustices? If so, why? This seminar will explore these questions by telling a story about why the call for reparations is 1) already situated with an American democratic tradition and 2) why it is also central to the Christian witness (reparations is a social and theological imperative). This seminar hopes to sponsor critical dialogue around the history of reparations and how religious communities might participate in this call to repair.