Symposium explores race and the Obama presidency

Princeton scholars in the fields of African American Studies, politics, religion, sociology and history will come together Tuesday, April 13, at the University for the symposium “Race, American Politics, and the Presidency of Barack Obama.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Multipurpose Room A of the Frist Campus Center on the Princeton campus, followed by a public reception.

Panelists will explore the public dialogue following the election of President Obama, when some commentators argued that the nation has moved toward a new era of postracial politics. Other observers disputed that the country has entered a postracial political order.

"Obama's presidency presents a number of challenges to how we think and talk about race and racism in the United States," said Eddie Glaude, chair of Princeton's Center for African American Studies. "We hope to advance a conversation among Princeton faculty and students about how we might meet those challenges and what may be required of us as we come to terms with the historic significance of our nation's first African American president."

Speakers and panelists at the symposium will include Glaude; Larry Bartels, professor of politics and public affairs and director of Princeton's Center for the Study of Democratic Politics; Daphne Brooks, associate professor of English and African American studies; Kevin Kruse, associate professor of history; Douglas Massey, professor of sociology and public affairs; Imani Perry, professor of African American studies; Jeffrey Stout, professor of religion; and Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs.

One goal of the symposium is to build on the unique strengths of the University and its faculty to to advance the conversation about race and racism that has been opened up as a result of President Obama’s election, said Glaude and Zelizer, who will deliver the opening and closing remarks for the symposium. The symposium offers faculty and students at Princeton University, as well as the surrounding community, an opportunity to learn about the difficult challenges we continue to face as a nation and what kinds of changes might be possible in the coming decade, they said.

The event is sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Media who would like to attend should RSVP to Carla Hailey Penn at the Center for African American Studies no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 9, by emailing or calling (609) 258-1065.