Fall 2023 Social Sciences Forum

Constitution Day

Friday, September 15, 2023

AOK Library Gallery

Mark S. Chang

Maryland House of Delegates
District 32, Anne Arundel County
UMBC Class of 1999



A View from the Statehouse: A Constitution Day Conversation with Delegate Mark Chang, ’99

Q&A session with a faculty and student panel discussing Del. Chang’s life story as a first-generation Korean-American and public servant, and how UMBC prepared him for his career. Del. Chang will also discuss the role state governments can play in preserving American democracy.

Organized by the Department of Political Science and cosponsored by the Center for Social Science Scholarship.

Photo by R. Shotola.


Mullen Lecture

Wednesday, October 4, 2023
4:00 pm

AOK Library Gallery

Melissa Kearney

Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics
University of Maryland, College Park

The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind

The share of US children growing up with the benefits of a two-parent household has declined sharply in the past 40 years, driven by changes in household structure among parents without a four-year college degree. The two-parent household is now a privilege experienced disproportionately by the children of college-educated parents. The shift away from the two-parent family among non-college educated parents reflects a reduction in marriage among these adults and the decoupling of marriage from childbearing. The erosion of the two-parent family outside the college-educated class has exacerbated class gaps in childhood resources – and consequently, opportunities and outcomes. This new reality undermines the promise of equal opportunity and social mobility. Improving the lives of our nation’s children and closing class gaps in children’s economic outcomes will require that we confront the critical role that family plays in shaping the trajectory of children’s lives, address the factors that have driven these seismic societal changes, and do much more to curtail the widening class divergence in childhood environments.

Organized by the Department of Economics and cosponsored by the Center for Social Science Scholarship.

Photo provided by Dr. Kearney.

45th Annual W.E.B. DuBois Lecture

Wednesday, November 8, 2023
6:00 pm

University Center Ballroom

Moses E. Ochonu

Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in History and Professor of African History
Vanderbilt University

Eight Phases of African American (Re)Invention of Africa

Using V.Y Mudimbe’s ontological concept of the invention of Africa as a point of departure, this talk explores the ways in which African Americans, from the mid nineteenth century to the present, invented and reinvented ideas, semiotics, and tropes of Africa to respond to evolving circumstances, challenges, and aspirations in America and beyond. These changing imaginaries of Africa produced corresponding practical African American engagements with Africa. They also catalyzed the emergence of capacious intellectual constructs about what Africa means or should mean for African Americans in different periods. While critically surveying this rich intellectual history of diasporic “invention of Africa,” Dr. Ochonu proposes a provisional overarching template for African American engagements with, and imaginings of, Africa in the twenty first century.

Organized by the Department of Africana Studies.  Cosponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, and the Center for Social Science Scholarship.  Additional cosponsors to be determined. 

Photo provided by Dr Ochonu.


Human Context of Science and Technology program lecture

November 29, 2023
4:00 pm

AOK Library Gallery

Juno Salazar Parreñas

Associate Professor
Science and Technology Studies and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Cornell University

White Supremacy, Animal Advocacy, and the Longue Durée of Misanthropy

Inspired by Aisha M. Belisa-de Jesús and Jemima Pierre’s challenge to pursue an anthropology of white supremacy and Lesley Green’s decolonial ecopolitics in South Africa, this talk engages the racialized and gendered dynamics of animal advocacy in South Africa and on Borneo in present-day Malaysia as a way to consider how animals are instrumentalized in projects of white innocence and white supremacy. In South Africa, ex-circus lions from Latin America, Middle East, and Eastern Europe have been repatriated to white-owned properties. In Malaysia, wildlife centers harbor displaced orangutans and their operations depend on both commercialized volunteering efforts and local low-wage labor. Comparing these two sites offers a way to think about race and racism by thinking about animals.

Organized by the Human Context of Science and Technology program.  Cosponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health, the Department of Geography & Environmental Systems, and the Center for Social Science Scholarship.  Additional cosponsors to be determined. 

Photo by Allison Usavage.