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Symposium Goals

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In today's undergraduate classrooms, race/ethnicity is a stable topic or sub-topic within many disciplines and courses in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Courses either focus explicitly on race (e.g., "Race and Ethnic Relations"; "Slavery in the Americas") or cover it as one of many sub-topics (e.g., "Social Inequalities", "U.S. History"). Covering race/ethnicity in the undergraduate classroom remains a difficult task, as professors report feeling challenged in the classroom by students who contend that a discussion on race and racism is "irrelevant" or too slanted to one side of the political spectrum. As our student body becomes more diverse and the political landscape more complex, professors will continue to be challenged by issues of why race should be studied, its utility, and how it matters. The Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Culture, currently in conjunction with the Sociology and History departments, is hosting a symposium on navigating these challenges.

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This symposium specifically targets scholars at all levels who aim to engage a conversation about race within their classrooms. We aim to bring together scholars from a variety of universities and disciplines within the social sciences and the humanities.
  1. To identify the challenges of holding a conversation about race/ethnicity in today's undergraduate classrooms.
  2. To provide scholars specific tools to moderate this conversation with students of a variety of backgrounds.
  3. To explore how to train students to be civically minded and civically engaged, as issues of race often overlap with issues of inequality and social justice.
  4. To provide participants information about resources on teaching, including reading lists, use of multi-media tools, and exercises to enhance their instruction.
  5. To create an interdisciplinary network of scholars at Rice and other campuses.

Keynote Address and Discussions





Keynote Speakers

A sociologist and instructor of the largest race course in the U.S. with over 720 students per semester, keynote speaker Dr. Sam Richards obtained his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in Sociology and the socioeconomic development of Africa and Latin America. He currently focuses on core issues of race and ethnic relations. Sam is a founder and Director of Development of World in Conversation, a student-centered organization at Penn State that creates dialogues about social and cultural issues among thousands of undergraduate students annually, allowing them to navigate complex issues in small group settings through the use of peer facilitators. This kind of engagement promotes community, critical thinking, and self-understanding. Sam has been named one of the "101 Most Dangerous Academics in America" by activist David Horowitz. Arguing that empathy is the core of sociology, his "Radical Experiment in Empathy" is one of the most widely viewed TEDx talks online.

Dr. Richards will be joined by Dr. Laurie Mulvey, Executive Director and co-founder of World in Conversation. She obtained her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University but draws daily on the knowledge she gained while studying for her M.S.W. at Rutgers University. Through Laurie's guidance, World in Conversation has forged alliances with the United Nations and NATO to hold video conversations between students living in countries where dialogue is essential. Currently working in Pakistan, Iran, Palestinian Territories, Israel, Kuwait, Taiwan and elsewhere, she is overseeing both the dialogues and facilitator skill-building in the U.S. and abroad. Our goal, in Laurie's words, "is to turn conflict into collaboration by building an 'army of facilitators' who see dialogue as essential to wider social change." Her International Dialogues course at Penn State, in which she and her students examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by speaking directly with university students and others in Gaza and Israel, has been recognized for its innovative application of experiential pedagogy.

Breakout Sessions

Click on the links below to view video recordings of each breakout session.

Time
Session I
Session II
1:30 - 2:15      Legitimizing Race in the Social Sciences
(Dr. Jenifer Bratter, Rice University)

Legitimizing Race in the Humanities
(Dr. Alexander Byrd, Rice University)

2:30 - 3:15 Teaching Race with an Eye toward Public Policy     
(Dr. Nestor Rodriguez, UT Austin)
Teaching Race with Technology in the Classroom
(Dr. Sam Richards, Penn State)

3:30 - 4:15 Essential Readings on Race
(Dr. Janis Hutchinson, University of Houston)

Managing Difficult Conversations
(Dr. Laurie Mulvey, Penn State)

4:30 - 5:15 Beyond Black & White: Exploring the Model
Minority Myth

(Uzma Quraishi, Rice University)

More than Race: Engaging Place, Class, and
Gender

(Dr. Krista Comer, Rice University)


Event Photos