Henry Louis Gates, Angela Davis to Speak at 2014 Race & Pedagogy National Conference

April 23, 2014

Thursday, Sept. 25–Saturday, Sept. 27
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Wash.

– The 2014 Race & Pedagogy Conference this fall will bring to Tacoma a high-profile roster of speakers, including some of the country’s most inspiring advocates for civil rights and educational justice.

For three days hundreds of participants from around the country will address the conference theme “What NOW is the Work of Education and Justice?: Mapping a New Critical Conscience.”

This third national race and education conference at University of Puget Sound results from years of dedicated effort by the Community Partners Forum of local residents, and  by the students, staff, and faculty who participate in the university’s Race and Pedagogy Initiative. The conference will take place from Thursday, Sept. 25, through Saturday, Sept. 27, at multiple venues on campus. Everyone is welcome to attend. Registration information is below. Keynote speakers at the event will include:

Henry Louis Gates Jr
Harvard University professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute for African and African American research
Angela Davis
: civil rights activist, prison abolitionist, and professor emerita at University of California, Santa Cruz
Winona LaDuke: environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights advocate, and former Green Party vice-presidential candidate
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva: Duke University professor of sociology and author of the highly-acclaimed book  Racism Without Racists

The conference takes place against the backdrop of the re-election of America’s first African American president, and legal reform in areas such as marriage equality and immigration policies. Yet at the same time, voting rights have been challenged, mass incarceration continues, and severe economic conditions have exacerbated the politics of racial resentment.

“Imperative and urgent for us then, in our work at the nexus of education and justice, is asking: ‘What now?’” said Race and Pedagogy Initiative Director and Puget Sound Professor Dexter Gordon. “In what ways must we face our complacencies and wrongheadedness, and examine this gridlock between aspiration and achievement?”

The conference will examine issues including the teaching of science and race; the criminal justice system and school-to-prison “pipeline”; innovations in public education, including the recruitment of teachers of color; culturally responsive teaching; methods of documenting social struggles; and the process of institutional change.

The keynote speakers will headline a program of spotlight sessions and more than 50 panels, roundtables, poster sessions, artistic installations, and music and theater productions. More on the four keynote speakers is below:

Henry Louis Gates Jr., educator, writer, editor, and television producer, is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute for African and African American research. He is the author most recently of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2013) and Black in Latin America (2011). His 10-part documentary series, Finding Your Roots, aired on the Public Broadcasting Service in 2012. Gates is editor-in-chief of The Root, a daily online magazine focused on the African American community. In 1997 he was named one of Time’s “25 Most Influential Americans,” and in 2005 one of Ebony’s “100 Most Influential Black Americans.”  He is co-editor of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience and the encyclopedia African American National Biography, among other large works. Currently he is co-editing Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin Biography, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014. Gates has written numerous books and articles and has produced several television shows for PBS. He has received 51 honorary degrees, a 1981 MacArthur Foundation “genius award,” the 1993 George Polk Award for Social Commentary, and a National Humanities Medal in 1998, among many other honors. The lecture is sponsored by the Susan Resneck Pierce Lectures in Public Affairs and the Arts.

Angela Davis, professor and social justice activist, is the author of nine books and has lectured in the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years her work has addressed the social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of the communities most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early ’70s as a person who spent 18 months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” Davis has taught at numerous universities including San Francisco State University; University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; Vassar College; and Stanford University. She was most recently at University of California, Santa Cruz where she is professor emerita of history of consciousness and of feminist studies. Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the “prison-industrial complex.”  Her most recent book is The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues.

Winona LaDuke is an internationally acclaimed author, orator, and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch universities, she has devoted her life to protecting the lands and culture of native communities. LaDuke is the founder of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. LaDuke served as Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate on the Green Party ticket in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections. In 1994 Time named her one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age, and in 1997 she was named Ms. magazine’s Woman of the Year. Amongst numerous other honors, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. LaDuke is the author of nonfiction titles including All Our Relations, The Winona LaDuke Reader, Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming, Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People, and her latest, The Militarization of Indian Country(2013). This lecture is sponsored by the Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values.

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of sociology at Duke University, has written, researched, and presented widely on the topics of racial inequality, diversity, democracy, human rights, and ethnic issues. His best-selling book Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States is in its fourth edition. In the latest edition the book argues that, in contrast to a belief by some that President Obama’s election signified the start of a post-racial era in America, the event actually embodies the racial trends of the last 40 years, including the rise of color-blind racism as the dominant racial ideology and the emergence of a racial stratification system that he characterizes as Latin America-like. Bonilla-Silva has published numerous book chapters and articles in journals, including The Sweet Enchantment of Color Blindness in Black Face: Explaining the “Miracle,” Debating the Politics, and Suggesting a Way for Hope to be “For Real” in America. Bonilla-Silva studied at the University of Puerto Rico and received his doctorate from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Race and Pedagogy Initiative coordinated national conferences in 2006 and 2010 and has organized a series of Achievement Gap and Youth & Family summits, a Parent & Guardian Conference, and a Race, Education & Criminal Justice Conference, since the initiative’s foundation in 2004, alongside the Civic Scholarship Project established by Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas.  

The 2014 Race and Pedagogy Conference is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Puget Sound Energy, Russell Investments, State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tacoma Arts Commission, University of Puget Sound, Wells Fargo, and an anonymous local foundation donor. 


For interviews with conference speakers or organizers, please contact Media Relations Manager Shirley Skeel at 253.879.2611, 510.684.6715 (cell), or sskeel@pugetsound.edu

Press photos of the speakers can be downloaded from: pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
Photos on page: Sessions, posters, and theater at 2010 Race & Pedagogy Conference. And 2014 speakers.

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