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Reading Michelle: Gender Politics of Race in the Age of Obama

Allison Davis Lecture to feature Princeton scholar and TV pundit

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September 27, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Melissa Harris-Lacewell -- a Princeton University professor and television commentator on race, gender and politics -- will discuss the importance of First Lady Michelle Obama’s public persona for understanding black women’s citizenship Monday, Oct. 18, when she delivers the 2010 Allison Davis Lecture at Northwestern University.

The lecture, titled “Reading Michelle: The Gender Politics of Race in the Age of Obama,” will take place at 5 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Free and open to the public, it will be followed by a reception.

Harris-Lacewell appears frequently on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” and “Countdown with Keith Obermann” and writes a monthly column titled “Sister Citizen” for The Nation magazine. She is author of “Barbershops, Bibles and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought” and winner of the 2005 W.E.B. DuBois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and a 2005 Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association.

At Northwestern, Harris-Lacewell will discuss Michelle Obama’s importance as the most visible, contemporary example of African American women’s efforts to resist painful and historical stereotypes. “The success and difficulties of her experience are emblematic, if not typical, of black women’s citizenship struggles,” she says.

The Allison Davis Lecture is sponsored by Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the African American studies department and the Kreeger Wolf Endowment. The lecture honors Davis, the first African American to receive tenure at a non-historically black university. Previous Davis lecturers have included Mary Frances Berry, Glen Loury and William Julius Wilson.

The lecture also marks the 10th anniversary of Weinberg’s American Cultures Colloquium and begins its 2010-11 speakers series.

For more on the lecture, visit http://www.weinberg.northwestern.edu/index.html or call (847) 491-5122.