Posted on March 27, 2023

The Dean of Tulane Cracks the Diversity Whip

Tulane University, March 24, 2023

Dear Liberal Arts Community,

I want to invite you to our upcoming Anti-Racism and the Disciplines Final Symposium next week, which will take place on Friday, March 31st, starting at 1pm in Rogers Memorial Chapel.

While the fight against racism is ongoing, the symposium will serve as our formal close to the 2021–2022 Dean’s Speaker Series of the same name. It gives us the opportunity to welcome previous series guests to Tulane’s campus and spend an afternoon engaged in panels and presentations with leading Black scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

In addition to the participants (names and affiliations listed below), our agenda will feature a keynote from American literary critic, Black Feminist scholar and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor at Vanderbilt University, Hortense J. Spillers, on Anti-Racism and Literary Studies. A reception will follow.


  • 1:00 – 2:30pm: Anti-Racism and the Humanities
    Classical Studies: Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Associate Professor of Classics, Princeton University
    Communication Studies: Sarah J. Jackson, Presidential Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Media, Inequality and Change Center, University of Pennsylvania
    Philosophy: Lionel K. McPherson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University
  • 2:30 – 4:00pm: Anti-Racism and the Social Sciences
    Anthropology: Lee D. Baker, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and African and African American Studies, Duke University
    Economics: Gary Hoover, Professor of Economics and Executive Director of the Murphy Institute, Tulane University
    Sociology: Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University
  • 4:00 – end: Keynote on Literary Studies
    Hortense J. Spillers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and Distinguished Research Professor Emerita, Vanderbilt University


We are also so thrilled to finally announce the release of the other result of this project, our just-released Anti-Racism and the Disciplines Podcast miniseries. In it, I interview leading Black scholars—most of whom were part of the speaker series—to examine the complex histories of the liberal arts and imagine more positive scholarship for the next generation.

We designed it to be engaging and accessible, as suitable for teaching as for during your morning walk or commute. Each episode is a 30-minute conversation with a brilliant educator that will take you to amazing and unexpected places.

The disciplines (or “majors”) included in our series are economics (Gary Hoover), sociology (Mary Pattillo), political science (Alvin Tillery, Jr.), philosophy (Lionel McPherson), literature (Hortense Spillers), communication studies (Sarah Jackson), classics (Dan-el Padilla Peralta), and the digital humanities (Kim Gallon). The intent was to represent a broad scope, ranging from the traditional to more contemporary areas of study in the liberal arts.

The series was entirely produced by members of our school, with me as your host, Gabriela Garcia as executive producer, and master’s student Cory Diane composing the original music, and with support from Digital Media Practices Professor Billy Saas and Dean’s Office student worker Maggie Green.


Thank you all for reading. We look forward to seeing you next week!

Brian Edwards | Dean and Professor