Historian Robin D.G. Kelley to Explore Ethnic Studies’ Roots in CSUN Lecture

Historian and author Robin D.G. Kelley will speak to California State University, Northridge students, faculty and the community about ethnic studies’ origins, at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 1, in the University Student Union’s Lake View Terrace Room.

Kelley is the Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History at the University of California, Los Angeles and one of the country’s top scholars in African-American studies. He has authored several books and contributed to a wide variety of professional journals and publications, including the Journal of American History and The New York Times.

Robin Kelley

Robin Kelley

His lecture, titled “Over the Rainbow: Second-Wave Ethnic Studies Against the Neoliberal Turn,” will explore ethnic studies’ roots in American universities during the 1980s and early 1990s. He argues the field arose in response to radical social movements that originated during those decades.

“What we call ethnic studies was a university- and community-based political and intellectual insurgency, formed and matured within the context of a neoliberal order,” Kelley said. “I place the origins of ethnic studies programs in this period within a broader context of anti-racist student protests.”

Kelley also will discuss the era’s conflicting values and how past events and movements can be applied to modern times.

“Although [the ’80s and ’90s] were the height of liberal multiculturalism, anti-apartheid, anti-imperialist opposition in Central and South Africa, and environmental justice movements, it was also the era of prison expansion and policies that accelerated class and racial inequality,” he said. “The period not only spawned new social movements but new insurgent scholarship and key lessons for our contemporary crisis.”

The lecture is co-sponsored by CSUN’s Departments of Chicana/o Studies, Africana Studies, Asian American Studies, Central American Studies, History and Political Science.

“Students always benefit from meeting people like Robin,” said Chicana/o studies professor Renee Moreno. “He will challenge us and invite us to imagine a better world.”

The event is free and open to the public. The Lake View Terrace Room is on the second floor of the East Conference Center in CSUN’s University Student Union, located on the east side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

For more information, contact Renee Moreno at renee.m.moreno@csun.edu or (818) 677-7110.

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