The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz will present Freedom & Race—the fourth installment of its signature Questions That Matter series—on Tuesday, January 30, at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in downtown Santa Cruz.
The evening will feature a conversation with UC Santa Cruz humanities dean Tyler Stovall and history of art and visual culture professor Jennifer González, moderated by history professor and Humanities Institute director Nathaniel Deutsch.
The Questions That Matter series is designed to bring together UC Santa Cruz faculty with community residents and students to explore the big questions that matter to everyone. It is part of a strategic initiative of The Humanities Institute (formerly called the Institute for Humanities Research) to champion the role and value of the humanities in contemporary life.
“We initially made our decision to focus our next event on freedom and race because Dean Stovall is writing a book that explores different aspects of this very timely topic,” Deutsch noted. “Since we decided to focus on this theme, current events such as what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, have only convinced us more how important it is to grapple with the subject right now.”
Deutsch added that the panelists will discuss the different—and at times, competing—understandings of freedom.
“Freedom has always been a core aspect of America’s national identity and, yet, from the very beginning of the country’s history, members of different groups have had more or less freedom depending on their race, gender, or class. How do we grapple with this contradiction?”
“Today, universities around the country are struggling with their commitment to free speech, on the one hand, and demands—often from students—that speakers deemed racist should not be given a campus forum, on the other,” he added. “How should universities navigate these competing demands, especially at such a politically fraught time?”