Making Humanities Public: Racial Justice

Generously funded by the NEH, our Making Humanities Public Lecture Series brings two speakers to UM’s campus per year through the UM Humanities Institute. We strive to invite scholars, writers, artists, and innovators who can provide critical perspectives on humanities-related issues. One main goal of this lecture series is to connect UM, the Missoula, and Montana communities to the humanities and the important problems, challenges, and topics that related fields tackle. 

This year’s theme is racial justice. The history of racism against African-Americans in the U.S. is a lengthy one. The shocking deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and, most recently, Daunte Wright remind us of the history of institutional violence against African-Americans and the ways that it reverberates throughout every facet of American society. 

The Humanities Institute has made a commitment to develop programming that addresses and encourages discussion about racism, its history, and its impact. We acknowledge the damaging legacy of racial discrimination and the ongoing realities of police brutality, systemic violence, educational and economic inequality, bigotry, ignorance, indifference, commodification, and degradation of African-American life and culture. 

We are working to creating space for dialogue about these and related issues. Our goal of supporting scholarship includes that of African-American scholars who tackle challenging issues such as white supremacy and racial discrimination while highlighting the importance of anti-racism and social and political activism. That is why we have chosen the theme of racial justice for our 2021-2022 Making Humanities Public Lecture Series.

We look to scholars in and beyond the humanities to guide us in understanding the realities of a painful past shaped by racism, discrimination, and hatred, confronting a present still marked by pervasive institutional and individual racism, and, inspired by Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement, working toward a brighter future based on equality, justice, diversity, and tolerance.

The 2021-2022 Making Humanities Public Lecture Series will feature lectures by:

  • Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor | African-American Religious History | Department of Religious Studies | Stanford University: Humanizing ‘The Slave:’ Methodology as Racial Justice” (Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 7:30 p.m.) (Zoom)

  • Derrick R. Brooms, PhD | Faculty, Sociology | Africana Studies | University of Tennessee-Knoxville: “But, Who Knows Our Names: Race, (In)Justice, and the Matterings of Black Lives” (Friday, April 15, 2022/April) (in person/location and time to be announced)

Check back soon for our 2022-2023 lineup of speakers!