University of Delaware
Shaun L. Gabbidon

Diversity lectures

Series kicks off Feb. 15 with Gabbidon talk on 'Shopping While Black'


9:50 a.m., Feb. 13, 2012--The University of Delaware's new Center for the Study of Diversity will begin its spring lecture series with a Feb. 15 talk by a noted criminal justice professor who will examine consumer racial profiling, informally known as "shopping while black."

The Center for the Study of Diversity Lecture Series will continue throughout the spring semester as the first large initiative of the center. Talks are free and open to the public.

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The center, which is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences but serves the entire University, was launched in January as part of President Patrick Harker's diversity initiative. Its mission is to bring together faculty members from a range of disciplines to conduct and disseminate research that informs programs and policies at the University and beyond.

One of the central missions of the center' is "promoting academic research and public scholarship that facilitates dialogues about and understanding of the social and academic impact of diversity," according to James Jones, professor of psychology and director of the center.

Following are the lectures scheduled for the lecture series.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “Shopping While Black: Understanding and Combating Consumer Racial Profiling,” Shaun L. Gabbidon, professor of criminal justice, School of Public Affairs, Pennsylvania State University.

This lecture will examine consumer racial profiling as well as the historical and contemporary problem of shoplifting and the development of the “Black thief stereotype.”  The presentation will also review the results of recent empirical research on racial profiling in retail settings.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “Border Walls and Necro-Citizenship: The Normalization of Exclusion and Death on the U.S. Mexico Border,” Miguel Diaz-Barriga, professor of psychology and anthropology, University of Texas Pan American.

Border walls in the United States demarcate zones where exclusion and death are normalized. This lecture, through an analysis of the border wall in south Texas, will explore the usefulness of the concept of necro-citizenship to understand both the production of citizenship there and local resistance to the border wall.

  • Friday, Feb. 24, 12:30 p.m., 006 Kirkbride Hall, “Cross-Cultural Savants: Learning to Live with Diversity in Higher Education,” Elaine Salo, director of the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa. 

Salo will argue that the debate over affirmative action policies should shift to focus on the socio-economic and cultural benefits of diversity. She will draw on case studies from South Africa and Zambia to show how a focus on diversity enhances the role of universities in economic growth and social justice.

  • Thursday, March 1, 4 p.m., 004 Kirkbride Hall, “Fashioning Black Global Citizens: African American International Leisure Travelers and Travel Agents in the Postwar Era,” Tiffany M. Gill, associate professor of history, University of Texas at Austin.

The lecture will examine the black tourism industry that emerged after World War II. The talk will also focus on the role of women as tourists and their role in shaping the definition of a black global citizen in the postwar world.

  • Wednesday, March 7, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “Extremely Close and Incredibly Complex: State of North Carolina vs. Joan Little, 1974-1975,” Genna Rae McNeil, professor of history, University of North Carolina.

Raising questions about the impact of 1970s policy, legal culture and racism, the lecture will explore the significance of both an African-American woman’s self-defense and resistance in the era of Black Power. The lecture will discuss race, rape and the rule of law, with a focus on the North Carolina death penalty case against Joan Little.

  • Wednesday, March 14, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “The Work of Quilts in Grief,” Lisa Collins, associate professor of art history and Africana studies and co-director of the Africana Studies Program, Vassar College. 

Collins explores parallels between the process of grieving and the practice of quilt making by focusing on a 1942 quilt from Gee's Bend, Ala., created by Missouri Pettway. Her research seeks to shed light on the question: What is the role of creativity in the work of grief?

  • Wednesday, March 21, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “Living with Lynching: African American Drama and Citizenship,” Koritha Mitchell, literary historian, cultural critic and associate professor of English, Ohio State University. 

Mitchell explores the question of how African Americans survived the era between 1890 and 1930, when mobs carried out lynchings and circulated photos of the corpses. To counteract the message that they were not citizens, African Americans began writing plays about lynching that allowed the black community to affirm their self-image and mourn their losses.

  • Wednesday, April 4, 4 p.m., 116 Gore Hall, “Geographies and Ethnographies of Carbon Capitalists and Climate Justice Movements,” Michael Dorsey, assistant professor, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College. 

"Climate justice" is a new movement that brings together a variety of progressive political-economic and political-ecological groups to combat what they view as the most serious threat that humanity and most other species face in the 21st century.

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