A Discussion on Race and Racism


Please join us for an afternoon discussion moderated by Joy Connolly, President of the American Council of Learned Societies, and Alondra Nelson, President of Social Science Research Council, featuring Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and Director of the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project, and Bianca Williams, Associate Professor of Anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Joy-Connolley-large.jpgJoy Connolly has been President of ACLS since July 2019. Previously, she served as Interim President of The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY). A distinguished professor of classics, she joined the Graduate Center as its Provost and Senior Vice President in August 2016. During that time, Connolly doubled the number of master’s programs and established a major new initiative to transform doctoral education, with the aims of orienting graduate research projects toward the public good and enriching students’ options after completion of the degree. To broaden the Graduate Center’s impact on the world outside the academy, she secured support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to set up a new center called the PublicsLab, and she began work on non-degree programs that increase the faculty’s reach and impact on the public in New York City and beyond. Connolly also served as director of the undergraduate core curriculum (2009-2012) and dean for the humanities (2012-2016) at New York University. Connolly is the author of two books and over seventy articles, book reviews, and essays. Her board service includes the Journal for the History of Ideas and the board of directors of the Society for Classical Studies.  Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Reviewthe Independentthe Village VoiceThe Times Literary Supplementthe Chronicle of Higher EducationBookforum, The Nation, and the Women’s Review of Books.   

Alondra-Nelson-credit_Dan_Komoda_2019_3.jpgAlondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is an acclaimed researcher and author, who explores questions of science, technology, and social inequality. Nelson’s books include, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. She is coeditor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee) and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh N. Tu). Nelson serves on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of the Teagle Foundation and the Data & Society Research Institute. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Photo Dan Komoda.

Muhammad-headshot.jpgKhalil Gibran Muhammad is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library and the world’s leading library and archive of global black history. He is the award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard), and a contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. Khalil is a frequent reviewer and commentator in national print and broadcast media outlets, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, Moyers and Company, and MSNBC. He has appeared in a number of feature-length documentaries, including the Oscar-nominated 13th and Slavery by Another Name. 

Williams-headshot.jpgis an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Faculty Lead of the PublicsLab at CUNY Graduate Center. She writes about race, gender, happiness, and Black feminist pedagogical and organizing practices in higher education and activist communities. Williams is a recipient of the American Anthropological Association & Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. She is the author of the award-winning book The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018), and co-editor of the forthcoming book Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions: Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education (SUNY Press, March 2021).