Race, Politics, and the Modern Metropolis: A Conversation with Thomas J. Sugrue

Black and white image of a street from the 20th century

NOTE: ASL interpretation will be provided for this event.

Come join Thomas J. Sugrue in conversation with U-M historians Angela D. Dillard and Matthew D. Lassiter as they discuss the historical roots of the current challenges facing American cities. Sugrue is the author of The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, a landmark study tracing the decline of the Motor City to factors including racism, housing discrimination, and deindustrialization, all conditions that predated the 1967 uprising. He has also written widely praised books about President Barack Obama and the struggle for civil rights in the north.

Born in Detroit, Thomas J. Sugrue is Silver Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History and director of the Cities Collaborative at New York University. A specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race, he is the author of four books, among them The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (1996) and Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (2008). He is a frequent media commentator on modern American history, politics, civil rights, and urban policy.

Angela D. Dillard is Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, History, and in the Residential College at the University of Michigan. Her publications include Faith in the City: Preaching Radical Social Change in Detroit (2007) and A Different Shade of Freedom: The Making of Civil Rights Conservatism in America (forthcoming). In addition to serving as chair of the History Department she is also co-PI on the Michigan-Mellon Egalitarian Metropolis project.

Matthew D. Lassiter is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History and of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan. His publications include Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era (2021) and The Suburban Crisis: White America and the War on Drugs (forthcoming). Lassiter is also co-PI of the Carceral State Project’s Documenting Criminalization, Confinement, and Resistance initiative.

This event is presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.

Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasure of Fantasy

Racist Love Flyer

Leslie Bow (English, Wisconsin) will be in conversation with Victor Mendoza about her recent book “Racist Love: Asian Abstraction & the Pleasure of Fantasy”.
In “Racist Love”, Bow traces the ways in which Asian Americans become objects of anxiety and desire. Conceptualizing these feelings as “racist love,” she explores how race is abstracted and then projected onto Asianized objects. Bow shows how anthropomorphic objects and images such as cartoon animals in children’s books, home décor and cute tchotchkes, contemporary visual art, and artificially intelligent robots function as repositories of seemingly positive feelings and attachment to Asianness. At the same time, Bow demonstrates that these Asianized proxies reveal how fetishistic attraction and pleasure serve as a source of anti-Asian bias and violence.

Leslie Bow is professor of English and Asian American Studies at UW-Madison. She is the author of the award-winning “Partly Colored: Asian Americans and Racial Anomaly in the Segregated South” (New York University Press, 2010); “Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian American Women’s Literature” (Princeton University Press, 2001); and “Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy” (Duke University Press, 2022).

Register here: https://umich.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hjsXfN3NRqKRXimgDWMAZw


A Community Conversation on White Nationalism

White nationalism is the belief that white people have their own racial and national identity (= what makes someone who they are) and should have the most power, authority, and rights in a country based on the idea that they are better in some way than people from other groups (adapted from Cambridge dictionary definition).

In America, we live in a white supremacist culture. This country was built on racist ideals that are still apparent today. Currently, we are witnessing white nationalism on a large scale in the rise of hate crimes and overt racist rhetoric. But there are also elements of white nationalism in our day-to-day interactions with each other. Today we are going to talk about how white nationalist mindsets and frameworks are at play in our own school community.

This is a time for conversation – to share feelings, expand our minds, and talk together as a school community. To aid the conversation, space will be limited. (We know it’s coming up soon, so if you miss it, don’t fear! If there is a lot of interest in this topic, we can hold another session soon.)


Viral Justice: Teach-In and Discussion

Viral Justice: Teach-In and Discussion

Dr. Ruha Benjamin will be coming to Ross on March 14, 2023 to talk about her book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want. In anticipation of her visit, and to build our capacity for equity-centered knowledge, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is hosting an in-person teach-in on February 20, 2023 from 11-12:30 PM in Blau 2560. Ross Adjunct Lecturer of Organization and Management and Business Consultant Dr. Valerie Myers and Inclusive Leaders Pathway Program Manager Dr. Elizabeth LaFray will give short talks on structural racism and the intersection of criminal justice, healthcare, and education in the United States. An interactive discussion will follow.  Lunch will be provided.

Registration link 

Undoing Racism Workgroup Meeting

The journey to dismantle racism has not ended. Join us to build community collaboration and continue the conversation about anti-racist practice. We invite all members of our school community to attend meetings.


Confronting an Institution’s Pasts

Map showing suggested lines of development and proposed locations of new buildings of the University of Michigan, 1919 ( Bentley Historical Library)

Seating limited; registration required.

For in-person attendance: https://myumi.ch/4rnkm
For Zoom webinar: https://myumi.ch/j7y9Z

The live event will include an ASL interpreter. The Zoom webinar will include CART captioning.

Over the past twenty years, scores of universities have committed themselves to uncovering and reckoning with their ties to slavery as well as broader histories of exclusion and discrimination at their institutions. As the University of Michigan embarks on its own Inclusive History Project, this symposium will explore what it means for universities to undertake this work and what the future of these efforts might be. Panelists representing projects from Brown University, Harvard University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will discuss the principles that have guided their projects, the processes that have shaped them, the communities that have partnered with them, and the outcomes they have produced, including reparative measures.

Riot or Rebellion?: The Meaning of Violent Protest from the 1960s to George Floyd

Riot or Rebellion?: The Meaning of Violent Protest from the 1960s to George Floyd

This event is part of the Institute for Social Research series in honor of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This hybrid event will take place at the Institute for Social Research (426 Thompson St.) with live viewing available via Zoom https://umich.zoom.us/s/92773421482.

The decades since the civil rights movement are considered by many to be a story of progress toward equal rights and greater inclusiveness. Elizabeth Hinton uncovers an altogether different history, taking us on a troubling journey from Detroit in 1967 and Miami in 1980 to Los Angeles in 1992 and beyond to chart the persistence of structural racism and one its primary consequences, the so-called urban riot. Dr. Hinton offers a critical corrective: the word riot was nothing less than a racist trope applied to events that can only be properly understood as rebellions–explosions of collective resistance to an unequal and violent order. Challenging the optimistic story of the post-Jim Crow United States, Hinton’s discussion will present a new framework for understanding our nation’s enduring racial strife. As her history suggests, rebellions will likely continue until police are no longer called on to manage the consequences of dismal conditions beyond their control, and until an oppressive system is finally remade on the principle of justice and equality.

Sixth Annual Rackham King Talks

Rackham students will communicate the relevance of their work to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy in a TED-talk style. The theme for the 2023 MLK Symposium is: “The (R)evolution of MLK: From Segregation to Elevation.”
Please note this event will be live in the Rackham Auditorium as well as being streamed live.
Registration is required at https://myumi.ch/G1XN1.
A reception with light refreshments will follow the event.
We want to ensure full and equitable participation in our events. If an accommodation would promote your full participation in this event, please follow the registration link to indicate your accommodation requirements. Please let us know as soon as possible in order to have adequate time, preferably one week, to arrange for your requested accommodations or an effective alternative.

#BlackLivesMatter Arts in the Performing Arts

Initially a hashtag but now a global movement, #BlackLivesMatter emerged as a response to the 2013 acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder. With the mission to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes, the global network is expansive and affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folx, as well as Black peoples’ humanity. But, what is the role of the arts in advancing #BlackLivesMatter? That is the central question this webinar will explore by engaging artists from dance, music, theatre, and visual art.


Black History Month, Opening Ceremony

Join us for an evening of student performances as we celebrate Black History Month! This year, BHM is an intentional partnership between MESA, and student organizations, Black Student Union (BSU) and the Support for Incoming Black Students (SIBS). The focus of Black History programming this year is uplifting the rich culture, talent and contributions of Black folx within the diaspora. Our theme, “Rooting for Everybody Black!” is inspired by the impact and creativity echoed throughout the community.