Fall 2016 SSF Events

Disaffection with the U.S. Constitution

Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair

Sanford Levinson has argued the Constitution is fundamentally undemocratic and in need of revision. Levinson’s call for a new constitutional convention has been dismissed as fanciful by many critics. However, recent public opinion data reveal support for constitutional change is higher than one may expect. The desire to change the political process has also fueled insurgent presidential candidates in both party primaries this year. Levinson considers what Americans really think about their Constitution and the American body politic.

Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Political Science

Unprofessional Politicians: Considering the Lottocratic Alternative

Alexander Guerrero, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

There is a general sense that electoral political systems are not working well, a theme stressed by both the Sanders and Trump campaigns. There is empirical evidence that supports this. This talk offers a diagnosis of the failures of electoral politics, and, perhaps more exciting, a solution: single-issue legislatures combined with political officials chosen at random from the citizenry. This talk will present and raise trouble for this solution, focusing on one particular dimension of concern: would “we the people” be up to the job?

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy; Department of Political Science

Not in My Neighborhood: UMBC New Student Book Experience

Antero Pietila, journalist and author

In Antero Pietila’s book, Not in My Neighborhood, Baltimore is the setting for one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation ever published in the United States. Pietila will discuss Baltimore’s history, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of “white flight” after World War II, and into the first decade of the twenty-first century, and how it parallels the complicated histories of other American cities.

Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education

Reassessing Racial Differences: The Perception of Racial Equality in the Obama Era

Melvin Thomas, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, and Hayward Derrick Horton, Associate Professor of Sociology, University at Albany, State University of New York

The election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States was heralded as a sign that the U.S. had entered a post-racial era. Melvin Thomas and Hayward Derrick Horton use data from the 1986-2012 American National Election Surveys to address two questions: (1) In the Obama era, have racial differences in perceptions of racial inequality and justice converged, widened or stayed the same and; (2) Are differences in perceptions of racial inequality and justice primarily race-based, education-based, or both?

Part of The Obama Effect 2.0 Conference, sponsored by the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; Department of American Studies

Black Woman Narrative Interrupted: Debunking Mainstream Narratives about Physical Activity and Weight

Rashawn Ray, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park

Why are black women in the U.S. more likely to be obese and less physically active than other groups, and what can be done about it? Rashawn Ray has explored this question through intensive qualitative and quantitative research, finding that black women face an assortment of structural and cultural barriers that inhibit their ability to be as physically active as other groups. He will discuss how the interactive effect of race and gender can be costly for middle class blacks in ways it is not for middle class whites and the important role that primary care providers can play in ameliorating the dearth of physical activity in the U.S.

Health and Inequality Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Department of American Studies; Department of Africana Studies; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; Department of Psychology; Social Work Program; Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; School of Public Policy

Post-Election Forum

Donald Norris, Director and Professor, School of Public Policy, UMBC, Tom Schaller, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, UMBC, and John Fritze, writer, The Baltimore Sun

An engaging discussion about the 2016 Presidential election – the campaigns, the candidates, the issues, and of course, the election outcomes.

Sponsored by the School of Public Policy; Department of Political Science; Maryland Institute for Policy, Analysis, and Research

From Black Lives Matter to the 2016 Elections: The Future of Black Politics

View lecture online

Cathy J. Cohen, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago

With the end of the Obama presidency in sight and the continuation of the Black Lives Matter Movement, many wonder what black politics will look like after President Obama leaves office. Cohen will discuss the future of black politics in light of electoral versus protest tensions, generational differences and an increasing class bifurcation in black communities.
Is a radical black politics rooted outside the electoral system possible or will the incorporation and the election of black politicians overwhelm the future of black politics?

W.E.B. DuBois Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies; Department of Political Science; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; Department of American Studies; Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Mosaic Center for Culture and Diversity; Interfaith Center; Dresher Center for the Humanities

How Did We Get Here?: Women and the 2016 Election

Rebecca Traister, author of the New York Times bestseller, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation and New York Times notable book of 2010, Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, will discuss women and the 2016 election cycle.

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science; Department of History; Department of English; Social Work Program; Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; Department of Psychology; Department of Media and Communication Studies; Department of Gender + Women’s Studies; School of Public Policy