Tuesday, March 23
The Spring 2021 Black Mobility and Safety in the US Lecture Series continues with the theme of Driving While Black, and we welcome Frank Baumgartner and Gretchen Sorin.
Frank R. Baumgartner holds the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is one of the country’s leading scholars of public policy, framing, agenda-setting, policy change, and lobbying and has published extensively on these topics from both US and comparative perspectives. In recent years, he has focused on statistical studies of criminal justice issues, including the death penalty, racial disparities in traffic stop outcomes, and other issues. His most recent book Suspect Citizens (2018), which focuses on racial differences in the outcomes of routine traffic stops, was recognized with the Best Book Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2019. His research on traffic stops following up and extending from his 2018 book has recently been published in the Policy Studies Journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities, and the Journal of Race and Ethnic Politics. He has active research projects on various criminal justice-related topics including the death penalty, racial disparities in arrests and sentencing, as well as traffic stops.
Gretchen Sorin is a historian and the Director and Distinguished Professor at the Cooperstown Graduate Program (CGP) at SUNY Oneonta. Before joining CGP, she worked as a museum educator, a director and a consultant to more than 200 museums over 30 years. In addition to directing the program, she teaches courses in museum studies, museum exhibition, and African American art. Her particular area of expertise is exhibition development, and she continues to enjoy creating exhibitions that address issues of social justice, with the belief that museums have a civic responsibility. Research for her recent book Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights (2020), began more than 20 years ago when she was an exhibition curator assembling visual records and oral histories of how the automobile provided greater mobility for Black Americans while further exposing them to systemic racism across the country. Sorin collaborated with the filmmaker Ric Burns to develop the book into the PBS documentary Driving While Black: Race, Space and Mobility in America (2020).
Continuing from fall 2020, ACT is co-presenting the series of public guest lectures that coincide with Ekene Ijeoma’s Black Mobility and Safety in the US course. Focusing on the theme of living while Black, this semester’s topics will include: learning, voting, driving, working, and loving while Black.
In this seminar and studio, Ijeoma will guide students to listen, learn, reflect and respond to issues around mobility (physical, mental, socio-economical, political, etc) and safety for Black Americans through words, images, and sounds that reference social science and anti-racist research. Weekly meetings will be organized around public lectures from guests ranging from designers and urban planners to activists and social scientists, and private individual presentations for the group.
Part of a two-semester course, Black Mobility and Safety in the US is organized into two-week topics around living while Black. The first semester (Fall 2020) will include: birthing, breathing, sleeping, eating, and walking; the second: learning, voting, driving, working, and loving. By the end of each semester, students will have the resources and tools to actively listen and respond critically to issues of Black mobility in the context of their own fields and their purposes.