URI’s 2010 Honor Colloquium to explore key issues of RACE

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KINGSTON, R.I. — August 26, 2010 –The University of Rhode Island’s popular Honors Colloquium series returns this fall to explore key issues of race. Considering the prominence of race in current events such as immigration reform, racial profiling, and affirmative action, this year’s colloquium is intended to foster and further ongoing, public dialogs about race.

The semester-long series is free and open to the public, offering nearly weekly opportunities to hear from and speak with nationally recognized scholars and public figures concerned with the particular ways that race shapes contemporary life. The regular, Tuesday night events will be supplemented with additional programming, including a film series, art exhibits, and a theatrical production, also taking place throughout the semester. For a complete, up-to-date schedule, visit www.uri.edu/hc.

The series begins Tuesday, Sept. 14 with environmental justice advocate Majora Carter, a MacArthur Genius Fellow, whose talk, “Green the Ghetto and How Much It Won’t Cost Us,” will explore the intersections of race and environmentalism. The following week features Tony Award-winning actor B.D. Wong, recognized nationally for his role in the television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, speaking about the politics of media representations and his experiences as an Asian-American actor. The colloquium concludes on Dec. 7 with Paul Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, an accomplished multimedia artist and professor of media arts, who will discuss Rebirth of a Nation, his remix of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation.

Other speakers include Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ, and Duana Fullwiley, Harvard Professor of African and African American Studies and of Medical Anthropology. Among the events complementing the Colloquium will be public talks from Cedric Jennings, subject of the biography A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey From the Inner City to the Ivy League, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and a URI Theatre production of Spinning into Butter, which will run for two weeks in October. The Colloquium film series will run Thursdays at 5 p.m. beginning Sept. 16.

Six URI professors are serving as this year’s colloquium coordinators: Lynne Derbyshire (Communication Studies), Gail Faris (Women’s Center), Rae Ferguson (History), Kyle Kusz (Kinesiology), Kendall Moore (Journalism and Film Media) and Ian Reyes (Communication Studies). In a statement, the coordinators offer their thoughts:

“Researchers have recently suggested that we abandon the concept of ‘race,’ as a result of findings that show how humans are more alike than different. This comes at a time where a powerful cultural and political machine is manufacturing and universalizing the word ‘post-racial’ to describe a new era—the Obama era—to argue, erroneously, that we are in a new age of racial equality. Like in so many other cultures, perceptions of race shape all aspects of our lives, including our neighborhoods, families, relationships, schools, jobs, wars, music, healthcare, sports, and law. In this colloquium we will explore how race and racial inequality continue to be critical issues that shape our society and its everyday values.”

For more information on colloquium events contact Deborah Gardiner at 401.874.2303. For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact Tom Zorabedian at 401.874.2853 or zman@foundation.uri.edu.

Major Sponsors:

Honors Program, Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Sciences, Richard and Jean Harrington and the Harrington School of Communication and Media, Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, College of Engineering, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, College of Human Science and Services, Office of the President.

Sustaining Sponsors:

The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment.


Division of University Advancement, College of Business Administration, College of Pharmacy, Department of Communication Studies, Center for Student Leadership Development, Office of the Dean of Students, Women’s Studies Program, Athletics, Multicultural Center, Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance, Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, University College–Phi Eta Sigma, Department of Kinesiology.


African and African American Studies Program, Center for the Humanities, Coastal Institute, College of Nursing, Special Programs for Talent Development, Women’s Center.