Arc of Racial Justice

“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote is a suitable way of encapsulating the history of the University of Richmond. A university with Baptist origins that admitted Jewish students at a time when many Ivy League institutions balked, we are now among the most ethnically, economically, and racially diverse campuses in the country, and among the 1 percent of American universities that are need-blind, meeting all demonstrated need of our students. We are also situated in a city that has evolved; what was once the seat of the Confederacy is now a vibrant and diverse center of commerce and intellectual innovation.

In the midst of rapid change, the University of Richmond seeks to be a leader in place-based dialogue, striving to understand Virginia’s 400-year-old history of racial justice and injustice, even as we draw students, staff, and faculty from around the world. A practical and contextual grounding in place-based teaching and learning is critical for cultivating a community of learners responsive to the challenges of social and racial inequity.

The Arc of Racial Justice initiative will connect many existing efforts, including those under the banners of the Terms of Racial Justice, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of International Education, Common Ground, and the Race and Racism Project, to bridge the historical realities of the people we attract to this university, to the city, and to our aspirations.

2018 Arc of Racial Justice Participants

Faculty interested in the teaching and scholarship of race and racial justice were invited to apply to the first Arc of Racial Justice Institute, which will take place from May 7-11. The Institute will ground the subject matter in place-based study, through the lens of Richmond, VA and countries with deep histories of racial inequity and slavery, and will feature faculty facilitators from UR and elsewhere.

The 16 faculty members selected to participate, who represent 13 different disciplines across A&S, prepared a scholarly article or book chapter to be submitted for publication or create a course to be taught in the 2018-19 academic year; the group reconvened in 2019 for a seminar to discuss outcomes with fellow participants.

Monti Datta, Political Science
Alicia Diaz, Dance
Mimi Hanaoka, Religious Studies
Patricia Herrera, Theatre
Atiya Hussain, Sociology
Kasongo Kapanga, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Kristjen Lundberg, Psychology
Nicole Maurantonio, Rhetoric
Andy McGraw, Music
Mariela Mendez, Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies
Camilla Nonterah, Psychology
Melissa Ooten, WILL
Will Reckner, Philosophy
Bedelia Richards, Sociology
Elizabeth Schlatter, Museums
Tom Shields, School of Professional and Continuing Studies
Andrea Simpson, Political Science

The Arc of Racial Justice Institute was led by the former A&S Dean Patrice Rankine and associate professor of rhetoric and communication studies Nicole Maurantonio, in partnership with the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, Common Ground, and the Office of International Education.