Public discourse about the impacts of racism have gained momentum in recent years. Yet, race as a concept remains widely misunderstood. Racial discourse continues to be dominated by physiological signifiers such as skin color and other expressions of genetic heritage. Race is conflated with ethnicity, culture, and language. At the same time, the material and affective consequences of racism, usually negative, are borne by those at the bottom of racial hierarchies organized within and across societies. If we are to eliminate the malignant grip of racism on the human condition and create any real potential for racial justice, we must explore the mechanisms through which race is constructed and maintained within and across social institutions, including higher education itself
The 2018 International Roundtable will spur our campus and surrounding communities to move beyond blood and skin, beyond diversity and representation, and beyond how it feels to be raced. The Roundtable will prompt us to pinpoint the historical sources of race and to understand how overlapping fields have maintained its mythology for the accumulation of material, political, and social capital for a segment of the population. The Roundtable will encourage us to ask different questions in the hope of taking a reparative path to destroy racial ideologies
Dorothy E. Roberts is an American scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate. She writes and lectures on gender, race, and class in legal issues. Her concerns include changing thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare and bioethics.
Rick Kittles is a biologist specializing in human genetics. He achieved renown in the 1990s for his pioneering work in tracing the ancestry of African Americans via DNA testing. He is currently the leader of the Washington, D.C.-based African Ancestry Inc., a genetic testing service for determining individuals' African ancestry.
Premesh Laluis Professor of History and the Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. He has published widely in academic journals on historical discourse and the Humanities in Africa and is a regular contributor of public opinion pieces in local and international newspapers.