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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 to be followed by a Q&A session.

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 to be followed by a Q&A session.

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.

Click here to register for this event.


COVID-19 in Historical Context

November 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 to be followed by a Q&A session.

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,” the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize by the American Historical Association as the best work on Italy in any period, and the 2008 Welch Medal from the American Association for the History of Medicine.


"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


The Deans' Roundtable

April 2021 | 7:00 PM

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


Additional dates and details to be announced throughout the year.

A&S Accomplishments

  • Barracks to Premiere Film

    Chaz Barracks, dissertation fellow in rhetoric & communication studies, to premiere new film at the Afrikana Film Festival called “Everyday Black Matter."  View the film here.

  • Barney Published

    Timothy Barney, associate professor and chair of rhetoric & communication studies, published “Colonial Vestiges on the Map: A Rhetorical History of Development Cartography at the United Nations During Post-War Decolonization” in the Journal for the History of Rhetoric.

  • Additional Publication by Barney

    Timothy Barney, associate professor and chair of rhetoric & communication studies, co-authored “Envisioning a Remembered Future: The Rhetorical Life and Times of The Manchurian Candidate” with Trevor Parry-Giles in The Journal of Popular Film and Television.

  • Díaz Debuted at ICA

    Alicia Díaz, associate professor of dance, debuted Entre Puerto Rico y Richmond: Bridging Stories of Resistance, a mixed media installation that includes a dance film, altars, and an image board contextualizing the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the US, at the Institute for Contemporary Art.

  • Grayson Awarded

    Kristine Grayson, associate professor of biology, has been awarded $97,272 from the United States Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to fund a second year of her project, Research and Development on a Rearing System for Emerald Ash Borer.

  • Softic Published

    Tanja Softić, professor of art and chair of the department of art and art history, published an essay in the series "Artists Quarantine with their Art Collections" in Hyperallergic, a contemporary art and culture magazine.

  • Softic Featured

    Tanja Softić, professor of art and chair of the department of art and art history, was featured in Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home presented by Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at College of Charleston.

  • Mifsud Published

    Mari Lee Mifsud, professor of rhetoric, published the chapter, “A Feminist Praxis of Comparative Rhetoric,” in the Routledge Handbook of Comparative World Rhetorics.

  • Grayson Awarded

    Kristine L. Grayson, associate professor of biology, has been awarded $28,660 in supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation for, Collaborative Research: RUI: Linking thermal tolerance to invasion dynamics: Climate and physiological capacity as regulators of geographical spread.

  • Lowder Published

    Matthew Lowder, assistant professor of cognitive psychology, along with two UR students and an alumni (Gwynna Ryan, ’21, Jaclyn Opie, ’21, and Emily Kaminsky, ’19), published “Effects of contrastive focus on lexical predictability during sentence reading: The case of not only…but also constructions” in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

  • Towns Published

    Armond Towns, assistant professor of rhetoric and communication studies, authored a piece for OUPblog titled “Black studies for everyone”.

  • Towns Published

    Armond Towns, assistant professor of rhetoric and communication studies, published "Toward a Black Media Philosophy," for Cultural Studies.

  • Oware Interviewed

    Matthew Oware, professor of sociology, was recently interviewed on the Radikaal Podcast to discuss politics and rap music. Listen to the interview here.