SIA kicks off Racial Injustice Globally speaker series

Dr. Ariane De Lannoy focuses her work on youth inequality in South Africa
Dr. Ariane De Lannoy focuses her work on youth inequality in South Africa

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Conversations around racism and racial injustice have been amplified in the United States since the death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late May. And while public attention here has been focused, understandably, on experiences and histories specific to the U.S. context, racism is a problem that transcends borders and cultures.

With that in mind, the Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) kicked off its fall 2020 speaker series, Racial Injustice Globally, on Tuesday, September 29, with guest speaker Dr. Ariane De Lannoy, associate professor at the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town. More than 40 people attended the event, hosted on Zoom, to hear De Lannoy discuss “Youth and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa.”

This talk was co-sponsored with the African Studies Program at Penn State.

The next event in SIA’s Racial Injustice Globally series is on Thursday, October 29, from 12:45 to 2:00 p.m. via Zoom. The guest speaker is Dr. Ben Jones, assistant director of the Penn State Rock Ethics Institute. Jones will speak on “The Ethics of Addressing Racial Disparities in Police Deadly Force,” an issue that is situated within the broader context of a U.S. criminal justice system that disproportionately affects poor, racial-ethnic minorities. This event is open to the public, but registration is required.

Jones’ talk is co-sponsored with the Criminal Justice Research Center and Rock Ethics Institute.

“The aim of this series is to provide a better understanding of how race and racism shapes people’s lives in different and unequal ways,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, SIA associate director and professor of international affairs and core faculty with the Rock Ethics Institute. “By becoming aware of the historical dimensions of racial inequality and how race is defined differently in diverse societies, we can begin to understand how racial categories can and do change, an understanding that can help to dismantle racial inequalities in societies.”

Ransom, who also serves as co-chair of SIA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group, organized the Racial Injustice Globally Series along with Eleanor Brown, professor of law and international affairs, faculty representative on the DEI Working Group, and core faculty with the Rock Ethics Institute.

More speakers will be announced soon as part of SIA’s Racial Injustice Globally series.