Race and American Politics

Leah Wright RigueurRace and American Politics is a multidisciplinary series of seminars and roundtable conversations led by Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and cosponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. The series will feature academic, practitioner, and journalistic perspectives from across the nation on the most pressing political and social issues related to race in the United States: state-sanctioned violence, protest and social movements, voting rights, political representation, and more. While the series will engage students and the HKS community in conversation to better understand these issues from a variety of disciplines and viewpoints, it is also intended to identify and spark discussion on promising policy solutions and implications for practice. 

 

Past Events:

Inaugural Session, October 22, 2015
Give us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
Featuring  Ari Berman, the author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America; Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; and Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  The event was moderated by Alex Keyssar, the Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  

Listen to a recording of the event:

 

Session II, November 11, 2015
A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates
As a bestselling author, 2015 MacArthur fellow, and national correspondent for The AtlanticTa-Nehisi Coates has emerged as one of the foremost thinkers about race and racial issues in America. His book, Between the World and Me, written as a letter to his teenage son, has brought a personal and powerful voice to bear on the centuries-old legacy of violence inflicted upon African Americans. Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, Harvard University, moderated the event in the JFK Jr. Forum.

Watch a video of the event:

 

Session III, November 18, 2015
Race, Public Opinion, and the Fight Over Reparations in the Age of Obama
Michael C. Dawson, the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago, examined both liberal and conservative objections to slavery reparations, presented recent public opinion data and analysis on support for reparations and slavery apologies, and discussed the issue of reparations within the broader racial divide in American public opinion. Walter Johnson, the Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University served as respondent.  Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, moderated this discussion.

Listen to a recording of the event:

 

Session IV, February 17, 2016
Black Politics and Gun Violence
Martha Biondi, Chair of the Department of African American Studies, Professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University, discussed "Black Politics and Gun Violence" as part of our Race and American Politics seminar series. This discussion was moderated by HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy Leah Wright Rigueur. 

Listen to a recording of the event:

 

Session V, March 9, 2016
Why Mass Incarceration Matters to our Cities, Economy, and Democracy
Heather Ann ThompsonProfessor of History and Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan discussed "Why mass incarceration matters to our cities, economy and democracy” as part of our Race and American Politics Seminar Series.  This discussion was moderated by HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy Leah Wright Rigueur

Americans increasingly seem to agree that we face a serious crisis in our nation's criminal justice system today. Even politicians and policy makers have begun to consider that we have far too many people imprisoned in the U.S., that those with records face far too many barriers to reenter society, that we deteriorating police-community relations, and that we have too long treated social ills like addiction through practices of punishment. The discussion focused on how we got into this crisis, explored unappreciated reasons why we must undo it, and examined various possibilities and obstacles to reform.

Listen to a recording of the event:

 

Session VI, Beyond Ideology: A Conversation on Race, Violence, and Justice

Add Event

Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

About the Event:

Please join Jelani Cobb, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut, contributor to The New Yorker, and recipient of the 2016 Jay College of Criminal Justice Trailblazer award, along with Thomas Abt, Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Lecturer with the Harvard Kennedy School and former Deputy Secretary for Public Safety for New York State, for a wide-ranging dialogue on new pathways for addressing the some of the most sensitive and polarizing issues in criminal justice today. Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, will moderate the discussion. 

Listen to a recording of the event:



Session VII, The Politics of the Latino Vote: Immigration and the Run Up to 2016

Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 4:10pm to 5:30pm

Location: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

You are cordially invited to a discussion entitled The Politics of the Latino Vote: Immigration and the Run Up to 2016 with Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress; Josiane Martinez, Founder, Archipelago Strategies Group; and Sophia Jordán Wallace, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University  as part of the Ash Center's Race and American Politics Seminar Series.  This discussion will be moderated by HKS Assistant Professor of Public Policy Leah Wright Rigueur.

Following the defeat of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012, the Republican National Committee commissioned an "autopsy" report, which explicitly called for the party to champion comprehensive immigration reform.  Though a bipartisan immigration bill passed in the Senate, it was never considered by the House of Representatives, and hopes for the passage of sweeping immigration reform legislation ultimately collapsed.  Leading 2016 GOP presidential contenders have largely taken a hard line on immigration, counter to the RNC's autopsy report recommendations.  Panelists will explore why the GOP has eschewed comprehensive immigration reform in light of the RNC autopsy report, discuss immigration's role in the 2016 presidential race, and assess possible Latino voter response to the campaign's immigration rhetoric. 

Listen to a recording of the event:



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