Rhonda Y. Williams, Professor of History, John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University, will discuss “The Things That Divide Us: Meditations” as part of the 2018 How Class Works Conference. Her talk will be held on Thursday, June 7, from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Students Activities Center, Ballroom B.
There are so many “things” that divide us – that create tyrannical perimeters, borders, boundaries and walls; that order the way we look at each other and “other” others; that perpetuate hierarchies; and that all too often tragically legitimate and elaborate ignorance, misunderstanding, inequalities, violence, oppression, and death. This presentation through a narrative poetics cogitates on some of those “things” by naming them not only with the aim of bearing witness to and grappling with the individual and collective dynamics that reinforce suffering and subjugation, but also with the aim of hopefully stimulating thinking about ways to vision … something else.
Professor Williams’ research focuses on low-income black women’s and marginalized people’s experiences, everyday lives, politics, and social struggles; and contributes to the rethinking of gender, political identity, citizenship, civil rights, black liberation struggles, and interactions with the U.S. state. She is the author of the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004) and Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015), as well as numerous articles and essays, including the forthcoming chapter titled “Women, Gender, Race, and the Welfare State” in the Oxford Handbook for Women’s and Gender History. Williams is also the co-editor of the book series Justice, Power, and Politics at the University of North Carolina Press and is co-editor of Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Stony Brook University Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice, and Policy; the Working-Class Studies Association and the Stony Brook University College of Arts and Sciences.