St. Olaf College | News

Institute to host Martin Luther King Jr. Day panel discussion

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the St. Olaf College Institute for Freedom & Community will host a panel discussion on January 21 titled “Race, Immigration, and the American Dream in the 21st Century.”

The discussion, which will begin at 7 p.m. in Tomson Hall 280, will feature scholars Christina Greer, Jason D. Hill, and Leah Rigueur. It is free and open to the public, and will be streamed live and available on demand online.

“We are thrilled to have three accomplished scholars from different disciplinary and normative perspectives to discuss the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the prospects of reviving the American Dream for people of all backgrounds in these polarized times,” says Institute for Freedom & Community Assistant Director Greg Siems. Greer, Hill, and Rigueur will share their own expertise and personal experiences in a discussion moderated by Edmund Santurri, the Morrison Family Director of the Institute for Freedom & Community.

The January 21 panel discussion will feature (from left) scholars Christina Greer, Jason D. Hill, and Leah Rigueur.

About the Speakers

  • Christina Greer is an assistant professor of political science at Fordham University – Lincoln Center (Manhattan). Her research and teaching focus on American politics, black ethnic politics, urban politics, quantitative methods, Congress, New York City and New York State politics, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. Her book, Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, investigates the increasingly ethnically diverse black populations in the U.S. from Africa and the Caribbean. Greer earned her B.A. from Tufts University and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. She is a frequent political commentator on several media outlets, primarily MSNBC and NY1, and is often quoted in media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and the AP. She also writes a weekly column for The Amsterdam News, the oldest black newspaper in the U.S.
  • Jason D. Hill is a professor of philosophy, honors distinguished faculty, and director of teaching practicum at DePaul University. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University and is a specialist in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of education, and race theory. He is the author of four books, most recently Civil Disobedience and the Politics of Identity: When We Should Not Get Along and We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People. Hill is a contributor to numerous media outlets, including The Federalist, Commentary Magazine, Spiked Magazine, Salon, The Hill, NBC’s Today show, Fox News, and NPR. An immigrant to the United States from Jamaica at the age of 20, he now serves as president and CEO of the Institute for Immigrant Assimilation. Hill will speak in further depth about his philosophy and experience in a separate lecture on Tuesday, January 22, at 10:40 a.m. in Viking Theater. His lecture, titled “The Moral Meaning of the United States, and Her Ethical Decline in Today’s Culture” is free and open to the public.
  • Leah Rigueur is an assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. A historian by training, she earned her B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. She teaches courses on race, riot, and backlash in the United States, the Civil Rights Movement, and race and policy in modern America. Rigueur’s book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power, examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980. Her work has been featured in a number of different outlets including Polity, Souls, Federal History Journal, CNN, PBS, NPR, the Washington Post, The Guardian, MSNBC, Politico, The Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Daily Beast, Huffington Post Live, and Salon.

Established at St. Olaf in 2014, the Institute for Freedom and Community encourages free inquiry and meaningful debate of important political and social issues. Through its range of programming for students, faculty, and the general public, the Institute offers a distinctive opportunity to cultivate civil discourse within the context of the liberal arts.

Please visit the Institute’s website for the full list of 2018–19 speakers, and sign up for the quarterly newsletter to receive regular updates and information about Institute programming.