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Responding to Two Pandemics | COVID-19 & Racism

February 23, 2020: Ahmaud Arbery killed
March 11, 2020: Covid-19 declared a global pandemic
March 13, 2020: Breonna Taylor killed
May 25, 2020: George Floyd killed

And on, and on, and on.

As one of many attempts to process some of these events as they unfold, and those that preceded them, the School of Arts & Sciences presents this webinar series during a year that marks a significant moment for reflection in its own life. 

Join us throughout the 2020-2021 academic year for a series of conversations in the School of Arts & Sciences, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences. We extend these webinars to our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. All members of the University of Richmond and beyond are welcome to attend.

Series Details 

Free Speech and Protest

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | 7:00 PM

Guest: Michael Signer, Mayor Emeritus of Charlottesville, VA
Host: Patrice Rankine, Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences

Conversation followed with a Q&A session moderated by Martha Wright, Assistant Curator of Academic and Public Engagement.

Michael Signer is a public scholar, practicing attorney, and executive. For over twenty years, Mr. Signer has worked to promote democratic resilience - as a public servant, author, attorney, executive, and advocate. Mr. Signer served as the mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2016–2018 during the Unite the Right rally of 2017. The Washington Post wrote that he was “one of Trump’s strongest critics.” Afterward, he founded and chaired Communities Overcoming Extremism: the After Charlottesville Project, a bipartisan coalition including the Anti-Defamation League, the Ford Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, the Fetzer Institute, and New America. National Public Radio featured Mr. Signer's work “sharing painful lessons from the fight against hate.” 

Academic Disciplines: What Stays or Goes?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | 7:00 PM

Guests: Joy Connolly, American Council of Learned Societies and Andrew Delbanco, President of the Teagle Foundation, Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University 
Host: Nathan Snaza, Director of the Bridge to Success Program and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Advisory Board Member

Conversation followed with a Q&A session moderated by Nicole Sackley, Associate Professor of History and American Studies.

Joy Connolly began her service as President of the American Council of Learned Societies on July 1, 2019.  Previously, she served as interim president of The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, the principal doctorate-granting institution of the nation’s leading public urban university, a position she held from December 2018 to June 2019. A distinguished professor of classics, she joined the Graduate Center as its provost and senior vice president in August 2016. Connolly is the author of two books and over seventy articles, book reviews, and essays. Her board service includes the Journal for the History of Ideas and the board of directors of the Society for Classical Studies.  Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, the Independent, the Village Voice, The Times Literary Supplement, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Bookforum, The Nation, and the Women’s Review of Books

Andrew Delbanco is Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University and president of the Teagle Foundation. He earned his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Professor Delbanco’s most recent book, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press, 2018), was named a New York Times notable book. It was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf prize for “books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity,” the Lionel Trilling Award, and the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, for a work “of history, on any subject, that best combines intellectual or scholarly distinction with felicity of expression.” In 2012, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

COVID-19 in Historical Context

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | 7:00 PM

Guests: Frank Snowden, Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of History and History of Medicine, Yale University
Host: Elizabeth Outka, Professor of English

Conversation followed with a Q&A session moderated by Eugene Wu, Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry.

Frank Snowden received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1975. His books include Violence and Great Estates in the South of Italy: Apulia, 1900-1922 (1984); The Fascist Revolution in Tuscany, 1919-1922 (1989); Naples in the Times of Cholera (1995) and The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900-1962 (2006).  Conquest was awarded the Gustav Ranis Prize from the MacMillan Center at Yale in 2007 as “the best book on an international topic by a member of the Yale Faculty.” His most recent book, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present, published by Yale University Press in 2019, is the result of 40 years of research on the ways epidemics hold up a “mirror” to the social, cultural, and political conditions in which they arise.

"Diversity": Helping or Harming Us?

February 2021 | 7:00 PM

Guest: Natasha Warikoo, Professor of Sociology at Tufts University
Hosts: LaDelle McWhorter, Stephanie Bennett-Smith Chair in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Bedelia Richards, Associate Professor of Sociology

Conversation to be followed by a Q&A session.

Natasha Kumar Warikoo is associate professor of education at Harvard University. She is an expert on racial and ethnic inequality in education. Her most recent book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities (University of Chicago Press, 2016), illuminates how undergraduates attending Ivy League universities and Oxford University conceptualize race and meritocracy. The book emphasizes the contradictions, moral conundrums, and tensions on campus related to affirmative action and diversity, and how these vary across racial and national lines. The book won multiple awards from the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and American Educational Studies Association

Registration opening soon

The Deans' Roundtable

April 2021 | 7:00 PM

Please join us for conversation and reflections on the School of Arts & Sciences at Thirty.

Registration opening soon

Additional dates and details to be announced throughout the year.

A&S Accomplishments

  • Barney Awarded

    Tim Barney, associate professor and chair of the department of rhetoric & communication studies, won the 2020 Wrage-Baskerville Award by the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association.

  • Boland Awarded

    Linda Boland, professor of biology, has been awarded $35,880 from the National Institutes of Health for her role on the project, A Digital and Open-Source Amplifier for Oocyte Ion Channel Measurements.

  • Outka Receives Award

    Elizabeth Outka, professor of English, received the 2020 Book Award (monograph category) from the South Atlantic Modern Language Association for her book Viral Modernism: The Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature.

  • de Sá Published

    Rafael de Sá, professor of biology, published “Analysis of ultraconserved elements supports African origins of narrow-mouthed frogs” in Molecular Phylogenetic and Evolution.


  • de Sá in the Journal of Morphology

    Rafael de Sá, professor of biology, published “Tadpole of the Amazonian frog Edalorhina perezi (Anura: Leptodactylidae) with description of oral internal and chondrocranial morphology” in Journal of Morphology.

  • Kong Gives "Last Lecture"

    Joanne Kong, director of accompaniment, coordinator of chamber ensembles, gave this year's Last Lecture, hosted yearly by the Omicron Delta Kappa's Epsilon Circle. You can view the recording of “Covid-19: A Point of Awakening for Humanity” here.

  • Softic Discusses Work

    Tanja Softic, professor of art, recently discussed her work in “Displacements”, a virtual exhibition project by Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC. The recording of the conversation can be found here.

  • Vazquez Published

    Karina Vazquez, director of community-based learning, and a number of her students, recently published “Vulnerable Bodies: Domestic Violence in The Hispanic/Latinx Community During A Pandemic” in Latinx Talk. Read the article here.

  • Barracks Named Top 40

    Chaz Barracks, dissertation fellow in rhetoric & communication studies, was named one of Style Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40” for 2020. Read about his accomplishments here.

  • Wu Published

    Carrie Wu, associate professor of biology, published "Evolution of multiple postzygotic barriers between species of the Mimulus tiligii complex" in the journal Evolution with coauthors Gabrielle Sandstedt and Andrea Sweigart from the University of Georgia.

  • Giancaspro Published

    David Giancaspro, assistant professor of spanish, published “The later bird gets the verb?: Effects of age of acquisition of English on adult heritage speakers’ knowledge of subjunctive mood in Spanish” in Languages.

  • Giancaspro in Heritage Language Journal

    David Giancaspro, assistant professor of spanish, published “Over, under, and around: Spanish heritage speakers’ production (and avoidance) of subjunctive mood” in Heritage Language Journal.

  • Giancaspro Publishes Chapter

    David Giancaspro, assistant professor of spanish, published the chapter “Not in the mood: frequency effects in heritage speakers' knowledge of subjunctive mood” in Lost in Transmission: The Role of Attrition and Input in Heritage Language Development.

  • Bowie Recognized

    Jennifer Bowie, associate professor of political science, received the 2020 Distinguished Educator Award for outstanding contributions to excellence in education.

  • Knouse Recognized

    Laura Knouse, associate professor of psychology, received the 2020 Distinguished Educator Award for outstanding contributions to excellence in education.