Common Ground lecture series to explore race and gender

Gilmore to give first presentation Dec. 2

Common Ground, a joint initiative of the Department of History, the Program in African and African-American Studies and the Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, all in Arts & Sciences, will host five speakers over the remainder of the academic year.

The first, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, PhD, professor of geography in the doctoral program in earth and environmental sciences at the City University of New York Graduate Center and president of the American Studies Association, will present “Life in Hell: Or How Saving Capitalism from Capitalism Must Fire Our Imaginations” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, in Busch Hall, Room 18.

Supported by a grant from the Diversity and Inclusion Grants Program, Common Ground is a one-year interdisciplinary workshop exploring race and gender in transnational perspective, says Jean M. Allman, PhD, the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities in Arts & Sciences and chair of the Department of History.

“While one of our goals is to provide a new forum for intellectual engagement around pivotal scholarship, we are also concerned with building new communities across the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences,” Allman says.

“Through those efforts, we hope to take preliminary steps toward improving campus climate for faculty of color and women faculty,” she says. “It is through intellectual engagement, we believe, that we can begin to imagine new and sustainable communities at Washington University where bold new interdisciplinary scholarship is respected and showcased.”

The workshop consists of 20 faculty and postdoctoral fellows who are meeting eight times over the year to discuss a set of readings. The group is hosting five speakers, whose talks are free and open to the public.

In addition to Gilmore, they are:

  • Robyn Wiegman, PhD, professor of women’s studies and literature and former director of women’s studies at Duke University, will present a paper, “Critical Kinship: Universalist Aspirations and Intersectional Judgments,” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 in Busch Hall, Room 18.
  • Vijay Prashad, PhD, the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and professor of international studies at Trinity College, is the author of 11 books, most recently The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World. His lecture will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, in Busch Hall, Room 18.
  • Roderick Ferguson, PhD, associate professor of American studies and chair of the American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota, is the author of Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique. His lecture, “My Man Bovanne: A Black Feminist Critique of Power and the Institutionalization of Movement Politics,” will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in Busch Hall, Room 18.
  • Rhonda Y. Williams, PhD, associate professor of history and the founder and director of the postdoctoral fellowship in African American studies at Case Western Reserve University, is the author of The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality. Williams will speak at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in Busch Hall, Room 18.

For more information, e-mail Allman at