GRCC Conference Examines Global Impact of Race and Ethnicity




            Monday, March 21, 2011 Grand Rapids, MI - Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson will be the keynote at Grand Rapids Community College’s Race and Ethnicity Conference this year.

Wilkerson is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns which chronicles the migration of blacks fleeing the south for northern and western U.S. cities – a shift that changed the face of America. The book, for which Wilkerson conducted hundreds of personal interviews, has received several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Race and Ethnicity Conference, part of GRCC’s ongoing commitment to creating an appreciation for diversity and inclusiveness, will be held April 4-7, 2011.

Topics cover issues of ethnicity and equality throughout history in the U.S. and in countries around the world.  All activities are free and open to the public, and will be held in GRCC’s Calkins Science Center unless otherwise noted.

The conference is the culmination of months of planning by GRCC’s Social Sciences Department and the International Geographical Honor Society.

A complete schedule of events follows. A quick check of titles shows the breadth of topics.

Monday, April 4th

Monstrous Women and Bestial Men: Exhibitions, Human Zoos, and the Imperial Gaze

3:15-4:45 p.m.

Assistant Professor Susan Williams, GRCC


Tuesday, April 5th

The Relationship Between Poverty and Academic Success

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Professor Cedric Williams, GRCC


Thoughts on Race and Ethnicity Through the Mirror of American Literature

1:15-2:45 p.m.

Professor David Tower., GRCC


A Discussion on Diversity and Equality

3:15-4:45 p.m.

Professor Yan Bai, GRCC

Wednesday, April 6th

Giving Up the Ghost: Confronting American Cultural Genocide in the post-Civil War Era

9:30-11:00 a.m.

Professor Mike Light, GRCC


The Impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments on Higher Education: A Story of Interdisciplinarity

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Ric Underhile, Associate Dean, GRCC


Ethnic and Sectarian Tensions Within Israel

3:15-4:45 p.m.

Professor Keith St. Clair, GRCC


Thursday, April 7th

Ethnicity, Settlement, Conflict and Reconciliation in Central Asia: A Geographical Perspective

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

G.T.U. Special Guest Speaker: Professor Leon Yacher,

Southern Connecticut State University


Where the Water Meets the Sky: Women’s Lives in a Remote African Village

3:15-4:45 p.m.

Panel Discussion and Film Viewing: G.T.U. Students

(GRCC) and Associate Professor Mike DeVivo (GRCC)


KEYNOTE: Discussion of The Warmth of Other Suns

7:30-9:00 p.m., Spectrum Theater

Professor and Pulitzer-prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson

Discussion followed by reception and book signing from

9:00-10:00 p.m.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.