Social Science Department Race, Ethnicity and Identity Conference

Students Listening to Lecture

All events are free and open to the public and all will be held in Sneden Hall Multipurpose Room, Room 108, at DeVos Campus.

The Race, Ethnicity and Identity Conference is sponsored by the GRCC Social Sciences Department, the International Geographical Honor Society, and Grand Rapids Community College. Special thanks to Gilda Gely, Ph.D (Provost/Executive V.P., Academic & Student Affairs, GRCC), and Laurie Chesley (Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, GRCC) for their support and contributions.

Monday, March 25, 2013
11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Equality and Justice: A Normative Perspective

Gordan Vurusic, Assistant Professor of Political Sciences, GRCC


Monday, March 25  2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Latino Voting in the 2012 Election

Heather Richards (Forrest), Professor of Political Science, GRCC


Monday, March 25  7 - 8:30 p.m.

Identity, Tourism, and Racialization in New Orlean’s Jackson Square

Rebecca Sheehan, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University (GTU Visiting Speaker)


Tuesday, March 26  2:45 - 5 p.m.

FILM VIEWING: Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2003, Lions Gate Studios) Discover the world of the Funk Brothers

Steve Abid, Professor of Economics, GRCC


Tuesday, March 26  7 - 8:30 p.m.

Patriotism and its Effects on Public Opinion on Foreign Policy: Comparing the Cases of the USA and Ireland

Karen Devine, Ph.D., Dublin City University (Visiting Fullbright Scholar Speaker – Columbia University)


Wednesday, March 27  10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Confronting Mechanisms of Control: Race, Gender, and Religion in Colonial Mexico

Robert Hendershot, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, GRCC


Wednesday, March 27  2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Hispanic Education in Western Michigan: A Roundtable Discussion


1) Tony Baker, Ph.D., Ferris State University Center of Latin Studies and GRPS Board Member

2) Rosa Fraga, Principle of San Jaun Diego Academy

3) Jonh Matias, Community School Coordinator, Arbor Circle, at Burton Elementary and Middle School

4) Martha Gonzalez-Cortes, CEO of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

MODERATORS: Alyson Mabie, GRCC Student and Heather Pribble, GRCC Student (GTU Sponsored Roundtable)


Thursday, March 28  1 - 2:30 p.m.

Invisible Walls: Race, Ethnicity and Social Boundaries in the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dillon Carr, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology, GRCC


Thursday, March 28  7 - 8:30 p.m.  KEYNOTE SPEAKER

The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

Keynote: Edward Blum, Ph.D., San Diego State University

Edward J. Blum (University of Kentucky, 2003) is a historian of race and religion in the United States. He is the author (with Paul Harvey) of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America (2012), W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet (2007), and Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (2005). He is also the co-editor (with Paul Harvey) of The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History (2012), (with Jason R. Young) The Souls of W. E. B. Du Bois: New Essays and Reflections (2009), and (with W. Scott Poole) Vale of Tears: New Essays on Religion and Reconstruction (2005).

Blum has been awarded the Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities by the Council of Graduate Schools for the best first book by a historian published between 2002 and 2009 (2009), the Peter Seaborg Award for the best book in Civil War Studies (2006), and the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation in southern history (2004). Twice he has been recognized by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights and in 2007 was named by the History News Network a “top young historian.”

He has been a fellow with the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and with the National Endowment for the Humanities. In the classroom, Blum engages the past in a variety of ways, whether through music and images or debates and historical simulations. His courses include Antebellum America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, American religious history, and history through biography. He is a co-editor of the teaching blog ( ) and with Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman and Jon Gjerde of Major Problems in American History.

Related Sites:
The University of North Carolina Press Book Site
SDSU Interview w/Joanna Brooks: Jesus, Race and Politics
Daily Beast: Was Jesus Lily-White? Author Edward Blum Discusses Race and the Mormon Religion
The Atlantic Online: How (George) Romney Championed Civil Rights and Challenged His Church
NY Times Online: Fighting Over God’s Image