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The 2021-2022 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities

Race & Racism:

The Problem of Persistence

“The problem of the twentieth century,” W. E. B. Du Bois famously declared in 1903, “is the problem of the color-line.” In the context of American history, these prophetic words now seem a profound understatement. The color-line has been the problem of every American century, including our own, and institutional racism still haunts societies around the globe. From its origins in colonialism and enslavement to its modern consequences in cycles of poverty and social segregation, racism has persisted in the face of efforts to end it. It is woven today into systems of law and criminal justice, medicine and health, housing, education, media representation, and more. As recent protests in the United States demonstrate, racism is neither past nor elsewhere; it is part of the historical terrain we inhabit, a system that continues to shape our thinking, our work, and our lives. And yet, despite the glaring inequities it produces, racism’s origins, legacies, and structural logics are often obscured by institutional complexities and tangled in values such as merit, citizenship, freedom, and law.

The 2021-2022 Altman Program invites the Miami University community to explore the persistence of racism in its cultural, political, and institutional forms. What is the history of race as an idea and a social category? How did it transform systems of law, administration, and representation into vehicles for subjugating entire groups of people? How does racism work today? What is its relation to systems of caste and meritocracy? To citizenship and mobility? How can emerging humanities scholarship help us interrogate its evolution and frustrating persistence? And what measures can we take to create a more inclusive and equitable society?
a black and white photo of african americans sitting on a bus
Isabel Wilkerson
Pulitzer Prize-winning author

A Conversation about Race and Caste

September 9, 2021 5:00 PM
Hall Auditorium
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Achille Mbembe
Research Professor in History and Politics, University of the Witwatersrand

The Becoming Black of the World

September 23, 2021 5:00 PM
Shideler 152
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Jonathan Metzl
Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University

Dying of Whiteness: The Politics of Racial Resentment and the 2022 Election Cycle

October 21, 2021 5:00 PM
Shriver Center, Heritage Room
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Sharon Patricia Holland
Townsend Ludington Distinguished Professor in American Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A Black Feminist Consideration of Animal Life

November 4, 2021 5:00 PM
Shriver Center, Dolibois Room
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Angela Saini
Journalist and award-winning author

The New Race Science

February 7, 2022 5:00 PM
Armstrong Student Center, Pavilion
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Tammy Kernodle
University Distinguished Professor of Music, Miami University

This is My Story, This is My Song: Black Music, Black Sound, and the Unmasking of Post-Racial America

February 23, 2022 5:00 PM
Armstrong Student Center, Pavilion A/B
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Natalia Molina
Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University Southern California

What We Miss When We Talk About Race

March 10, 2022 5:00 PM
Shriver Center, Dolibois Room
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Gwendolyn Shaw
Class of 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Painting and Prejudice: Racism in the Making of American Art History

April 6, 2022 5:00 PM
Shideler Hall, 152
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Lorgia García Peña
Mellon Professor of Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, Tufts University

Translating Blackness

April 28, 2022 5:00 PM
Shriver Center, Heritage Room
a black and white photo of african americans sitting on a bus

Altman Symposium: Race & Racism - Day 2

April 29, 2022 8:30 AM
Shriver Center, Heritage Room
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Calvin Warren
Associate Professor of African American Studies, Emory University

Phonological Violence: Toward a Philosophy of the Karen Call

April 29, 2022 1:00 PM
Shriver Center, Heritage Room

2021-2022 Altman Fellows

José Amador

José Amador is Associate Professor of Latin American Studies in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies and faculty affiliate to the Department of History. He is the author of Medicine and Nation Building in the Americas, 1890-1940 (Vanderbilt University Press, 2015) and the co-editor of Historia y memoria: sociedad, cultura y vida cotidiana en Cuba (Centro de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello, 2003). His scholarly interests include the history of public health and race, the history of the African diaspora in the Americas, and transgender studies. He has been a National Humanities Center fellow, and has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. His next book, “Transitioning in Brazil,” explores the relationship between public health and the development of ‘trans’ activism.

Stefanie Dunning

Stefanie K. Dunning, AssociateProfessor of English, is a graduate of Spelman College and the University of California, Riverside, and a former Ford Fellow. She is the author of two books: Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same-Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture (Indiana, 2009) and Black to Nature: Pastoral Return and African American Culture (Mississippi, 2021). Her essays have appeared in African American Review, MELUS, Studies in the Fantastic, and other journals and anthologies. Her podcast Black to Nature is available on all major platforms.

2021-2022 Altman Graduate Fellows

Andrea Morales Loucil

Andrea Morales Loucil is a M.A. student in English literature. She received her B.A. in history from Temple University. Her primary research interests include Caribbean literature, nation-building processes, and decolonization movements throughout the Americas.

Dasol Choi

Dasol Choi is a doctoral candidate in English. Her primary academic interests include 20th and 21st century multiethnic literature, postcolonial literature and theory, spatial studies, and geography. She is a 2021-2022  Graduate Fellow in the John W Altman Program on "Race and Racism."

2021-2022 Geoffrion Family Fellows

Maia Aoibheil

Maia Aoibheil is a senior honors student with a major in theatre and a minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. A College of Creative Arts Scholar focusing on devised theatre and dramaturgy, Maia is also a 2021 Undergraduate Summer Scholar researching Indigenous storytelling.

Navkiran Chima

Navkiran Chima is a junior honors student with majors in international studies and political science and minors in Arabic and social justice studies. She is a Presidential Fellow, Global Readiness Cohort Scholar, Interfaith Center intern, and an organizer for the “A Mighty Stream” racial justice initiative in Cincinnati. Her research interests include international human rights law.

Caroline Funk

Caroline Funk is a junior honors student with majors in English literature and creative writing and a minor in philosophy. A former Undergraduate Associate and current Writing Scholar, her research interests include feminist theory, film and visual culture, and nineteenth-century literature.

Alexa Lawhorn

Alexa Lawhorn is a senior honors student with majors in history and comparative religion. Her research interests include women in ministry, race and gender in early America, and historical memory. Her history honors project explores the life and legacy of Jarena Lee, the first female preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Chi Nguyen

Chi Nguyen is a junior from Vietnam majoring in art & architecture history. Her research interests include visual and media studies, cultural production, and critical theory. During her gap year, she worked closely with emerging artists and young curators in the Hanoi art scene.

Madeline Phaby

Madeline Phaby is a senior majoring in history and sociology with minors in political science and Spanish. A former Dean’s Scholar, Research Apprentice, and Undergraduate Associate, her research interests include Indigenous history, the American West, and journalism in history. She is an editor at The Miami Student newspaper.

Peyton Rayburn

Peyton Rayburn is a senior majoring in history and sociology. Her honors history thesis explored Native American linguistic and cultural revitalization during the twentieth century. Her research interests include the evolution of racial and ethnic identity, educational stratification, and Indigenous history.

Claudia Zaunz

Claudia Zaunz is a senior majoring in English literature and journalism. She has participated in the Scholar Leader program and is the current president of Luxembourgish Students at Miami. Her research interests include Victorian literature and cultural, linguistic, and media studies.

2021-2022 Altman Scholars

Andrew Hebard

Andrew Hebard, Associate Professor of English, studies late-nineteenth-century American literature. He has published articles in American Quarterly; Law, Culture, and the HumanitiesAfrican American Review; and Arizona Quarterly. He has a chapter on science and aesthetics in the Oxford Handbook of American Literary Realism (2019). His book, The Poetics of Sovereignty in American Literature, 1885-1910 (Cambridge, 2013), examines how American literature conventionalized legal forms of sovereignty and administration. His current book project examines the relationship between literary aesthetics and corruption in the Progressive Era state.

Denise Eileen McCoskey

Denise Eileen McCoskey is Professor of Classics and an affiliate of critical race and ethnic studies. Her research focuses on the role of race in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, as well as the reception and distortion of ancient ideas in more modern eras. She is the author of Race: Antiquity and Its Legacy (Oxford, 2012) and editor of the forthcoming volume "A Cultural History of Race" in Antiquity (Bloomsbury). She is currently at work on an article tracing the Africanness of the Roman playwright Terence and a project exploring the role of eugenics in early twentieth-century American classical scholarship.

Denise Tallaferro Baszile

Denise Taliaferro Baszile is Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Experience and Professor of Curriculum and Cultural Studies in the Department of Educational Leadership. Her work focuses on understanding curriculum as a racial and gendered text to disrupt traditional modes of knowledge production. She has published in the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing; Curriculum Inquiry; Race Ethnicity and Education; and Urban Education. She is co-editor of Race, Gender, and Curriculum Theorizing: Working in Womanish Ways and Black Women Theorising Curriculum Studies in Colour and Curves. She is currently co-editing a third volume on anti-blackness in curriculum studies and writing a book entitled “Steal A/Way: Stories of Black Feminist Fugitivity in White Academia.”

Durell M. Callier

Durell M. Callier, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, is the co-author of Who look at me?!: Shifting the Gaze of Education Through Blackness, Queerness, and the Body (Brill|Sense, 2019). His current research project, “Disclosure: Blackqueer Performances of Pleasure, Dissent, and Survival,” argues for expanding understandings of queerness and the queer subject within education by analyzing race and the racialization of gender and sexuality. An artist-scholar, he is co-founder of Hill L. Waters, a queer, feminist, arts-based collective. He is working on a series of collages and performances to remember Black, queer, and trans ancestors and to celebrate Black queer life.

Elena Jackson Albarrán

Elena Jackson Albarrán is Associate Professor of History and Latin American, Latino/a, andCaribbean Studies in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies. She studies the cultural history of twentieth-century Latin America, with an emphasis on revolutions, visual culture, childhood, and youth. She is the author of Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism (Nebraska, 2015), which won the María Elena Martínez award from the Conference on Latin American History, and co-editor of Nuevas miradas a la historia dela infancia en América Latina (UNAM-IIH, 2012). She is currently writing a book on the transnational circulation of children’s culture in the Americas. 

Katie Johnson

Katie N. Johnson is Professor of English and an affiliate of global and intercultural studies. She is the author of Sisters in Sin: Brothel Drama in America (Cambridge, 2006), Sex for Sale: Six Progressive-Era Brothel Drama Plays (Iowa, 2015), and numerous articles and book chapters on theatre, performance, film, and U.S. culture. She recently completed a book entitled "Racing the Great White Way: Black Performance, Eugene O’Neill, and the Transformation of Broadway," which was supported by a NEH Summer Fellowship.

Naaborle Sackeyfio

Naaborle Sackeyfio, Assistant Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies, focuses on energy and resource politics, political economy, gender, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. She is the author of Energy Politics and Rural Development: The Case of Ghana (Palgrave, 2018). Her articles have appeared in New Political Science and African Affairs. Her second book project explores African migrant identity and belonging in contemporary Japan. In 2020, she was a fellow at the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa, an initiative funded by the German Ministry of Education.

Rosemary Pennington

Rosemary Pennington, Associate Professor of Journalism, studies how the media represents minorities and how members of minority groups utilize media, particularly social media, to challenge stereotypes and prejudice. She has co-edited The Media World of ISIS (2019) and On Islam: Muslims and the Media (2018). Her scholarly work has appeared in New Media & Society, Journal of Communication Inquiry, and International Communication Gazette. She is currently researching the experiences of Muslim communities in Appalachia.