LAWRENCE— The Hall Center for the Humanities will host “Inequality in the Post-Civil Rights Era: A KU Symposium Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.” The symposium, which takes place Thursday, April 17, will feature two panels and a keynote lecture by Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University. The sessions are free and open to the public, and lunch is provided, but RSVP is required by Monday, April 14, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The event is co-sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office, the Office of the Provost, the schools of Law, Education, Social Welfare and Public Affairs & Administration, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Institute for Policy & Social Research.
The first panel, titled “Historicizing Inequality,” will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Hall Center Conference Hall. The panel will feature visiting speaker Colin Gordon, professor of history at the University of Iowa, a historian of American public policy and political economy. He is also a senior research consultant at the Iowa Policy Project, for which he has written or co-written reports on health coverage, economic development, and wages and working conditions (including the biennial State of Working Iowa series).
Gordon will present “Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality.” Also featured on the panel is Emily Rauscher, sociology, presenting “Compulsory Inequality: Effects of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Intergenerational Mobility,” and Argun Saatcioglu, educational leadership and policy studies, and Derrick Darby, professor of law and philosophy, discussing “Desegregation, Equality and Choice.”
After an hour lunch break, panel sessions will resume from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hall Center with “Engaging Inequality.” The panel will feature Laura Beth Nielsen, professor of sociology at Northwestern University and research professor at the American Bar Association. Her primary field is the sociology of law, with particular interests in legal consciousness — how ordinary people understand the law — and the relationship between law and inequalities of race, gender and class.
Nielsen will present “Doing Justice or Justice Due: Litigating Civil Rights in the United States.” Also presenting are panelists Chuck Epp, “How Racial Disparities in Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship”; Willie Elliott, social welfare, “Asset Inequality is a Civil Rights Issue”; and Reggie Robinson, Washburn School of Law, “Our Work Here is Done: Judicial Backsliding on Voting Rights.”
The capstone of the event will be a keynote lecture by Bollinger on “Race, Higher Education and Civil Rights: Restoring the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Stinson Leonard Street LLP Lecture Hall, 104 Green Hall. A reception will follow.
A prominent advocate of affirmative action, he played a leading role in the twin Supreme Court cases — Grutter v Bollinger and Gratz v Bollinger — that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. A leading First Amendment scholar, he is widely published on freedom of speech and press, and he currently serves on the faculty of Columbia Law School. This past fall he taught a course, A Free Press for a Global Society, focusing on issues he addresses in his most recent work, “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century.”
The symposium is part of KU’s April series of events, “Brown v. Board, Legacies Created, Questions Remain,” marking the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education case. On April 11-12, the KU Libraries will host “The Legacies & Unfinished Business of BvB, 2.0,” which includes an exhibition opening as well as a daylong event featuring distinguished law and civil rights experts.