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October 2020

Inaugural Lecture: Living Democracy in Capitalism’s Shadow: Creative Labor, Black Abolitionists, and the Struggle to End Slavery
John Majewski

October 8, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link In the two decades before the Civil War, a new type of capitalism developed in the northern United States that stressed mass education, widespread innovation, and new markets for art and design. For Black abolitionists, the changing northern economy presented new opportunities to highlight the evils of slavery. While continuing to attack slavery’s physical cruelty, Black abolitionists in the 1840s and 1850s increasingly highlighted the “mental darkness” of slavery, focusing on the systematic denial of literacy, learning, and creativity. Through their own creative labor, Black abolitionists made a compelling case for racial equality. The fate of Black creative labor after the Civil War, though, demonstrated the limits of using creativity as a way of obtaining citizenship, and raises important questions about how we in the 21st century

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The 2020 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence: Jesmyn Ward

October 15, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Jesmyn Ward by Beowulf Sheehan

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link Join us online for a conversation between Jesmyn Ward, 2020 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence, and IHC Director Susan Derwin. Audience Q&A will follow. MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has been called “the new Toni Morrison” (American Booksellers Association). In 2017, she became the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award twice—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Her writing, which encompasses fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, is “raw, beautiful, and dangerous” (The New York Times Book Review). Ward’s novels, primarily set on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, are deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. Salvage the Bones, winner of the 2011 National Book Award, is a troubling but ultimately

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Living Democracy Talk: Struggling to Save America’s Cities in the Suburban Age: Urban Renewal Revisited
Lizabeth Cohen

October 22, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link Urban Renewal of the 1950s through 1970s has acquired a very poor reputation, much of it deserved. But reducing it to an unchanging story of urban destruction misses some important legacies and genuinely progressive goals. Those include efforts to create more socially mixed communities, to involve suburbs—not just cities—in solving metropolitan inequality, and most importantly, to hold the federal government responsible for funding more affordable housing and other urban investments, rather than turn to the private sector. Cohen will revisit this history by following the long career of Edward J. Logue, who worked to revitalize New Haven in the 1950s, became the architect of the “New Boston” in the 1960s, and later led innovative organizations in New York at the state level and in the South Bronx.

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Living Democracy Talk: From the Embers of Crisis: Creating Equitable and Deliberative Democracy
Archon Fung

October 29, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Archon Fung Talk

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link At a moment when American Democracy was characterized by record levels of political division, inequality, and institutional distrust, it was hit by the perfect storm of the COVID-19 health crisis, an economic crisis of soaring unemployment and economic dislocation, and a civic crisis of reckoning with deep racism and police abuse. What would it take to create from the embers of these crises a deeper, more egalitarian and deliberative democracy in America? Many lay their hopes in a change of Presidential administration in the coming election. But long before Donald Trump, our government had already failed to create a system that shared the fruits of prosperity justly. Our government was unresponsive to the wishes of many Americans, especially people of color and non-wealthy Americans. A return to

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November 2020

Critical Mass Talks and Staged Reading: On Collecting and Hoarding
William Davies King and Rebecca Falkoff

November 5, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 8:30 pm

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: 4:00 - 5:15 PM Talks: William Davies King and Rebecca Falkoff REGISTER NOW 7:00 - 8:30 PM Staged Reading: Collections of Nothing Enough is Enough REGISTER NOW EVENT DETAILS: Talks: William Davies King and Rebecca Falkoff The Creative Edge of Collecting William Davies King has spent a lifetime collecting nothing in a way he brought to light in his 2008 book Collections of Nothing. His collecting of such things as Cheez-It boxes, “Place Stamp Here” squares, hotel door cards, and the little stickers you find on fruit runs into the tens of thousands of items, all on the low edge of the valueless and the ephemeral. But he has also spent a lifetime engaged with the arts–drama, performance art, collage–and he has explored the ways the activity of the collector, who thinks through the world, connects to

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Living Democracy Talk: Making Abolition Geographies: Stories from California
Ruth Wilson Gilmore

November 19, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Making Abolition Geographies: Stories from California

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link This talk explores how visions of abolition guide and connect organizing across a range of social justice struggles. Gilmore will highlight examples relating to environmental justice, public sector labor unions, farm workers, undocumented households, criminalized youth, and community based approaches to prevent and resolve gender and interpersonal violence. The vivid California stories she will present reveal how abolition is a practical program for urgent change grounded in the needs, talents, and dreams of vulnerable people. Audience Q&A will follow. Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Co-founder of many grassroots organizations including the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice

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February 2021

Living Democracy Talk: Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration
Reuben Jonathan Miller

February 25, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Reuben Miller Critical Mass Talk

REGISTER NOW Free to attend; registration required to receive Zoom webinar attendance link While more people are incarcerated in the United States than in any other nation in the history of the western world, the prison is but one (comparatively) small part of a vast carceral landscape. The 600,000 people released each year join nearly 5 million people already on probation or parole, 12 million who are processed through a county jail, 19 million U.S. adults estimated to have a felony conviction, and the staggering 79 million Americans with a criminal record. But the size of the U.S. carceral state is second in consequence to its reach. Incarcerated people are greeted by more than 48,000 laws, policies and administrative sanctions upon release that limit their participation in the labor and housing markets, in the culture and civic life of the

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