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Who Counts?

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Who Counts? Struggles for Representation and Recognition

In a year that holds both an upcoming election and the 100th year celebration of Women’s Suffrage, the Humanities Institute will organize events and other activities around the theme of “Who Counts? Struggles for Representation and Recognition.” 

In 2020, our series will mobilize around the question of who counts?—both in the sense of “who gets counted?” as well as “who does the counting?”—focusing on the multiple dimensions along which social and political representation has been achieved (and denied), the historically precarious attainment of political voice for all citizens, and the complexities of suffrage for all members of the citizenry who may be given a vote but wonder if they are given a voice.  

Offered in coordination with the College of the Liberal Arts’ recognition of the centenary of women’s suffrage in the United States (A Century of Women’s Activism), we hope to motivate discussions in various venues around the broader questions of the meaning of democracy, during a time when such questions are at the forefront of the public consciousness. 

PLEASE NOTE: We are postponing the following events in light of COVID-19. We hope to reschedule in the fall and will share additional information as it becomes available.

To this end, our events for Spring 2020 include a public lecture by Prof. Michael Ralph of NYU, whose work focuses on the connections between slavery, debt bondage and institutions like the insurance industry, examining ways that such connections can cast light on the way that human beings get counted in social, political and economic registers.  We will also host our Annual Humanities Lecture, this year featuring Prof. Qiana Whitted, Professor of English and African American Studies and Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Her recent work has focused on the ways that various social struggles and trauma, especially those involving civil rights, antisemitism, and other forms of prejudice in America, have been portrayed in comics and graphic literature.

Carol AndersonIn September, the HI and the McCourtney Institute for Democracy are delighted to co-host Carol Anderson of Emory University, who will be giving a talk titled,
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy.

Date, TBD 

In One Person, No Vote, Carol Anderson chronicles the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Anderson follows the story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding as more and more states seek to restrict voter access through photo ID requirements, gerrymandering, poll closures, and other measures. Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of "White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation's Divide," a New York Times bestseller.

This event is co-sponsored by the Africana Research Center and Richards Civil War Era Center. It is presented as part of “Moments of Change: A Century of Women’s Activism,” the College of the Liberal Arts theme for 2020.

Finally, the third episode of HI’s documentary series, HumIn Focus will center on the troubled history and ongoing fragility of democracy in America. Scholars in both the humanities and the social sciences are interviewed on the values inherent in democracy and the tenuous ways that institutions and practices in the U.S. have, and have not, lived up to those values.

Look for these and other events throughout the year.

To read more about the broader societal issues that inspired "Who Counts" as well as the initiatives that will be taking place this spring, visit here.