Shasha Keynote: “What the History of White People Can Tell Us about Race”

Nell Irvin Painter will deliver the 9th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns Keynote Address April 9.

Nell Irvin Painter will deliver the 9th Annual Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns Keynote Address titled, “What the History of White People Can Tell Us about Race in America.”

Nell Irvin Painter

“Americans are likely to think first and only of black people when the topic of race comes up,” she says. “But in the past Americans considered as white have also been raced and ranked as belonging to better or worse white races. In and of itself this history is fascinating, but beyond its intellectual interest, it can also offer some ideas about the functions of racial categorization in science and in everyday life.”

The event is open to the public and will be held at 8 p.m., April 9, in Memorial Chapel.

Nell Irvin Painter is the Edwards Professor of American History, emerita, at Princeton University. The former president of the Organization of American Historians and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is the author of seven books, including Standing at Armageddon (1987), Sojourner Truth (1996), and The History of White People (2010). In addition to her scholarly life, Painter currently is pursuing an M.F.A in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“Histories of Race” is the topic of the 2011 Shasha Seminar. This year, for the first time, Wesleyan is offering a semester-long undergraduate course as a complement to the Shasha Seminar. Students from this class, “Histories of Race: Rethinking the Human in an Era of Enlightenment” taught by Professor Andrew Curran, will join seminar participants for discussion during the 3-day weekend, April 8 – 10.

Endowed by James Shasha ’50 P’82 GP ’14, the Shasha Seminars for Human Concerns provide a forum through which Wesleyan alumni, parents, students and friends come together with scholars and other experts to expand their knowledge and perspectives on issues of global significance. Visit www.wesleyan.edu/alumni/shasha for additional information or to register for the weekend seminar.