Race & in America Series


Last year, more than 3,000 attendees joined us for eight “Race & in America” events. At a pivotal moment, the series served as a virtual platform for colleagues at Brown to think through the myriad ways that anti-Black racism remains an enduring and foundational feature of American society. This year, the series will expand as well as deepen in scope—both in thinking more comparatively about the roots and effects of racism in the U.S. and to explore the arts more fully, in hopes to promote a more just world.

Jointly sponsored by CSREA and the Office of the Provost, this year's series invites Brown scholars to investigate the origins, histories, and enduring contemporary effects of racism in America from a range of fields and scholarly perspectives.


View event lineups, recordings, and speaker biographies below.



Race & Inequality in America

October 26, 2021  |  12 Noon



Race & Poetry in America

November 30, 2021  |  12 Noon







Race & Music in America

February 15, 2022  |  12 Noon

Race & Environment in America

March 15, 2022  |  12 Noon

Race & Performance in America

April 19, 2022  |  12 Noon

Race & Music

Charrise Barron, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Music

Charrise Barron joined Brown’s faculty in 2018 as a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Religious Studies, Africana Studies, and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. While her research, writing, and presentations have explored a range of topics in African American music, religion, and culture, her current book projects center on contemporary gospel music. Her work illuminates the marked shifts away from previous eras of gospel performance and culture which have defined the last thirty years of the genre. Dr. Barron earned her PhD in African and African American Studies, with a secondary field of study in ethnomusicology, from Harvard University. She holds a Master of Divinity summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School and a certificate from Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music (ISM).

Iván Ramos, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Iván A. Ramos received his Ph.D. in performance studies with a designated emphasis in women, gender, and sexuality studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. in critical gender studies from the University of California, San Diego. His first book, Sonic Negations: Unbelonging Subjects, Inauthentic Objects, and Sound between Mexico and the United States (forthcoming from NYU Press), examines how “dissonant sound” brought together artists and alternative subcultures on both sides of the border in the wake of NAFTA to articulate a politics of negation against larger cultural and economic changes. Iván’s broader research investigates the links and slippages between transnational Latino/a American aesthetics in relationship to the everydayness of contemporary and historical violence. In particular, he is interested in how the aesthetic may provide a way to engage with an ethics of difference.

Eric Nathan, Associate Professor of Music

Composer Eric Nathan is a 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and has garnered acclaim internationally through performances of his music by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinist Jennifer Koh, and at Tanglewood and the New York Philharmonic’s 2014 and 2016 Biennials. Nathan currently serves as Composer-in-Residence with the New England Philharmonic and is Associate Professor of Music at the Brown University Department of Music. At Brown, he teaches a variety of courses in music composition, music theory and history, including the popular course, “From the Blues to Beyoncé,” that examines the contexts that gave birth to various genres of popular music, exploring the music through the lenses of race, class, gender and advances in technology. In 2018, he was awarded Brown University's Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship, which recognizes excellence in teaching. Nathan received his doctorate from Cornell and holds degrees from Yale (B.A.) and Indiana University (M.M.). Nathan served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College in 2014-15.

Dana Gooley, Professor of Music

Dana Gooley teaches courses in the history of jazz, opera, nineteenth century music, improvisation, and Broadway musicals. His research has revolved around celebrity performers and questions of musical performativity. He is the author of The Virtuoso Liszt (Cambridge 2004), a study of Liszt’s reputation and reception during his concert career, and Fantasies of Improvisation: Free Playing in Nineteenth Century Music (Oxford 2018), the first study of improvisational practices and values in European music in this period. He has co-edited the essay collections Franz Liszt and His World (Princeton 2006) and Franz Liszt, Musicien Européen: Art, Culture, Politique (Editions Vrin, 2012). In addition, he has published journal articles on music criticism, virtuosity, opera, musical mediation, improvisation, cosmopolitanism, and jazz.



Race & Environment

Elizabeth Fussell, Professor of Population Studies and Environment and Society

Elizabeth Fussell is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Population & Environment and a demographer and sociologist who studies migration in response to environmental shocks, particularly the unequal effects of shocks on population groups. Since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, she has investigated racial and other social disparities in the disaster’s long-term effects on the health, wellbeing, and residential mobility of the residents of New Orleans. She also studied the arrival and reception of Latinx immigrants who contributed to the recovery of the city. In new research, she is examining the migratory responses of Puerto Rico’s residents to economic recession, hurricanes, and other shocks. These projects leverage innovative data and methods to model post-disaster residential mobility, migrants’ destinations, and return migration to the disaster-affected community. Fussell is a co-author on the Human Social Systems chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has published her studies in Global Environmental Change, Demography, International Migration Review, Population and Environment,  and Social Science & Medicine, among other journals.


Mark Cladis, Brooke Russell Astor Professor of Humanities, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies

Mark S. Cladis' teaching and research often pertains to the intersection of modern Western religious, political, and environmental thought, and it is as likely to engage poetry and literature as it is philosophy and critical theory. Among other things, this work entails attention to environmental justice and indigenous ecology. For example, W.E.B. Du Bois and Leslie Silko have become central to his account of radical aesthetics—an aesthetics dedicated to racial, social, and environmental justice.  He has recently completed the book, In Search of a Course, and he is currently working on Radical Romanticism: Democracy, Religion and the Environmental Imagination. He is a founding member of Environmental Humanities at Brown (EHAB) and is an active faculty member in Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown.


Scott Frickel, Professor of Environment and Society and Sociology

Scott Frickel is Co-Leader of Brown’s Superfund Research Program’s Community Engagement Core and founding editor of the Nature, Society, and Culture book series for Rutgers University Press. His research and teaching focus broadly on the intersection of nature, knowledge, and politics. He has published more than 50 articles and chapters, as well as five books, most recently, with co-author James R. Elliott, Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities, winner of the Robert E. Park Book Award for 2020. A new multi-authored book, Residues: Thinking through Chemical Environments, will be published in 2022.


Race & Performance

Helina Metaferia, Assistant Professor of Visual Art

Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist working across performance, video, installation, collage, and social engagement. Metaferia received her MFA from Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; and New York University's The Gallatin Galleries, New York, NY. Group exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; and Modern Art Museum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Metaferia’s work has been supported by several residencies including MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis, and MASS MoCA. She is currently an artist in residence at Silver Art Projects at the World Trade Center in New York City. Metaferia's work has been written about in The New York Times, Financial Times, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, The Art Newspaper, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She has previously taught as full-time visiting faculty in the BFA and MFA programs at Michigan State University and the San Francisco Art Institute, and as part-time visiting faculty at The New School's Parsons School of Fine Arts. 

Nikki A. Greene, Visiting Scholar in Humanities, Associate Professor of Art, Wellesley College

Nikki A. Greene joined Brown’s Cogut Institute as the inaugural New England Humanities Consortium’s Faculty of Color Working Group Mellon Fellow. She has written for numerous art museums, including The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Guggenheim Museum, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. Her forthcoming book Grime, Glitter, and Glass: The Body and The Sonic in Contemporary Black Art (Duke University Press, 2022), features artists Renée Stout, Radcliffe Bailey, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons. She serves as an advisor to the ICA Boston for the 59 th Venice Biennale presenting the work of Simone Leigh for the United States Pavilion in 2022. While at Brown, Greene is conducting research for an exhibition that focuses on the multidisciplinary exercises of contemporary artists who share the element of performance as a form of portraiture that center Black feminist theory and practice.

Patricia Ybarra, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

Patricia Ybarra is the author of Performing Conquest: Five Centuries of Theatre, History and Identity in Tlaxcala, Mexico (Michigan, 2009), co-editor with Lara Nielsen of Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012; paperback 2015), and Latinx Theatre in Times of Neoliberalism (Northwestern University Press, 2018). She is currently working on projects on Reza Abdoh’s Father Was a Peculiar Man and the hemispheric history of theatre and debt. She is the former president of ATHE.

Avery Willis Hoffman, Inaugural Artistic Director, Brown Arts Institute

A writer, director, producer and curator of public programs, Avery Willis Hoffman recently joined Brown University as the inaugural Artistic Director of the Brown Arts Institute. In her recent role as inaugural Program Director at Park Avenue Armory in New York, Avery curated and produced innovative and diverse public programming initiatives, including numerous large- and small-scale cultural events. Prior to the Armory, Avery was a senior project developer at Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a museum planning and design firm, where she conducted research and developed content for a number of special projects, including the development of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. For nearly two decades, her professional career has included multiple projects with acclaimed director Peter Sellars. Avery earned graduate degrees in Classical languages and literature from University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar, and earned her BA in Classics and English from Stanford University.