The Lecture Series

Sponsored by the Provost and Dean of the Faculty

Portraits of speakers in the provosts series

The theme for the inaugural Provost and Dean of the Faculty’s Lecture Series is the history of anti-Black racism in America. As James Baldwin famously wrote, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it...history is literally present in all that we do.” Underpinning and guiding this series is the conviction that history is a powerful and necessary tool for helping us deepen our understanding of racism in America today. The series will launch with a talk by Professor Mary Frances Berry on Wednesday, August 26.

In separate lectures that will take place over the course of the fall semester, four of the nation’s foremost scholars of African American history will introduce key issues in African American legal and political history, exploring the theme of the history of anti-Black racism in America. Each talk will highlight and contextualize past, current, and ongoing protests for racial justice.


This lecture series is supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the cultivation of public scholarship in the humanities at Amherst College.


In fighting for Black lives, activists have called for the abolition and/or reform of both policing and prisons; they have pointed out the impact of COVID-19 on Black and brown communities; and they have fought for greater recognition of Black women as both leaders in the movement and victims of police violence. Many individuals and organizations have already moved to action. This series offers Amherst College students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to engage with distinguished historians who have dedicated their lives to understanding the history of anti-Black racism in America—with the hope that such knowledge will lead to real and lasting change.

This virtual lecture series is open to the Amherst community and the general public. Registration is required.

An extension of the lecture series, the accompanying non-credit seminar is open to Amherst College students, faculty, and staff and will also take place virtually.


Upcoming Lectures

The Condemnation of Blackness

The History of Anti-Black Racism in America Lecture Series

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
7 p.m. EDT

A photo of a black man in a suit smiling at the camera Khalil Gibran Muhammad is professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He 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. Before leading the Schomburg Center, Khalil was an associate professor at Indiana University. Professor Muhammad will discuss how the history of the idea of Black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America.

This virtual lecture is open to the Amherst community and the general public. 

REGISTER FOR OCTOBER 14


From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime

The History of Anti-Black Racism in America Lecture Series

Tuesday, November 17, 2020
5 p.m. EDT

A women with long dark hair Elizabeth Hinton is associate professor in the Department of History and the Department of African American Studies at Yale, and professor of law at Yale Law School. Before joining the Yale faculty, Hinton was a professor in the Department of History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. A Ford Foundation and Carnegie Corporation Fellow, Hinton earned her Ph.D. in United States history from Columbia University in 2013. Professor Hinton will discuss the implementation of federal law enforcement programs beginning in the mid-1960s that transformed domestic social policies and laid the groundwork for the expansion of the U.S. prison system.

This virtual lecture is open to the Amherst community and the general public. 

REGISTER FOR NOVEMBER 17


Past Lectures

Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations

August 26, 2020

Hosted by Jen Manion, associate professor of history at Amherst College, Dr. Mary Frances Berry discusses “Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations” in the first lecture in the History of Anti-Black Racism in America Lecture Series.

The Seminar

A Learning Community Open to Amherst College Students, Faculty, and Staff

Sponsored by the Provost and Dean of the Faculty

An extension of the lecture series, the accompanying non-credit seminar is open to Amherst College students, faculty, and staff. The seminar, which is also sponsored by the provost and dean of the faculty, has been designed with the goal of inspiring curiosity, collaborative learning, and community growth. Participants will be encouraged to attend the four public lectures that make up the series, complete related readings, and meet virtually for small-group discussions four times over the course of the fall 2020 semester. Expectations are flexible, however, and members of the seminar will be asked to participate to the degree their schedules allow.

Questions? Contact Jen Manion, associate professor of history, the facilitator of the lecture series and seminar, at jmanion@amherst.edu.

To sign up for this virtual seminar and receive more information, including the reading list, please fill out this form by August 30, 2020.

SEMINAR REGISTRATION


About the Seminar

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This non-credit seminar is open to Amherst College faculty, staff, and students who would like to participate in this ongoing learning community. Participants will attend lectures, complete short readings, and engage in discussions.