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RACE IN FOCUS SERIES – CRITICAL PEDAGOGIES: Teaching about Race and Racism: Your Syllabus 2.0

October 2, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Race in Focus Lecture Series

Part 1. Critical Pedagogies

Teaching about Race and Racism: Your Syllabus 2.0

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Join us to hear from distinguished scholars and educators about methods for incorporating critical pedagogies of race into teaching about language, culture, history, and society in Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia.

Among the first African Americans to join the American Communist Party and an important architect of communist approaches to race, racism, and African American equality, Lovett Fort- Whiteman (1889-1939) was one of the US citizens convinced (naively, to be sure) that Soviet society showed the way for overcoming racism in the United States. While visiting the USSR in 1924, Fort-Whiteman wrote to W.E.B. Du Bois: “There is a perfect spirit of internationalism here.” “Women from the various Circassian republics and Siberia, men from China, Japan, Korea, India, etc. all live as one large family, look upon one another simply as human beings … Here, life is poetry itself! It is the Bolshevik idea of social relations, and a miniature of the world of tomorrow.”

Communist positions on race and racism have yielded both successes and failures worldwide since 1917. Despite the mixed results, Fort-Whiteman’s words recall the impact that global colonialism has had on the social construction of identity, including in our world region; its legacy on research and teaching in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (SEEES); and its effect on perpetuating systemic inequities in academia as a whole. To address this legacy, this series is designed to elevate conversations about teaching on race and continued disparities in our field while also bringing research by scholars and/or on communities of color to the center stage.

The series will comprise four segments: two pedagogy webinars; two lighting rounds on the experience of minority scholars in the field; and two roundtables featuring research by scholars of color and/or on racial minorities, concluding with a forum on the reception of the Black Lives Matter movement in our field.


Anindita Banerjee is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University where her research focuses on science fiction and techno-cultural studies, environmental humanities, media studies, and migration studies across Russia, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America. She is the author of the monograph We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity (Wesleyan University Press, 2013) and is currently completing a second book titled The Chernobyl Effect.


Amarilis B. Lugo de Fabritz is the Master Instructor for Russian at Howard University’s Department of World Languages and Cultures. Dr. Lugo de Fabritz’s research includes work on Russian and East European cinema, Russian literature of the nineteenth and twentieth century, Spanish language, literature and culture, Spanish cinema of the post-Franco era, and Cuban cinema, as well as gender. She completed her doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Sunnie Rucker-Chang is Assistant Professor of Slavic and East European Studies and Director of European Studies the University of Cincinnati. She works, writes, and teaches primarily on racial and cultural formations and minority-majority relations in Southeast Europe. In her interdisciplinary work, Dr. Rucker-Chang focuses on Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav history, literature, screen media, coloniality, and post-socialism. She is the co-author of Roma Rights and Civil Rights: A Transatlantic Comparison (Cambridge, 2020) and co-editor of Chinese Migrants in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Routledge, 2011). She is currently finishing the volume Migrants and Refugees to, from, and in the Balkans: Identity, Alterity, and Culture, which she is co-editing with Yana Hashamova and Oana Popescu. Tentatively titled “Discourses on Blackness in Yugoslavia: Legacies and Dimensions of an Idea,” her new monograph will challenge conventional ideas of race and racialization in the Balkans and will connect the region to broad trends in European Studies.






October 2, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA)
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