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The 2014 Hampshire College Eqbal Lecture

News & Events

Talks on Race, Policing, and Racial Violence Part of Week Focused on Undoing Racism

Week of activities aimed at supporting communities of color includes annual Eqbal Lecture and Symposium, open to the public

Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash has announced that the week of October 24 will be dedicated to study, reflection, and discussion about our work, on campus and in society, to undo racism and support communities of color.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

Headlining the campus events, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m., in the Robert Crown Center, will be the College’s annual Eqbal Ahmad lecture, this year titled “Life in a Penal Democracy: Race, Policing, and the Limits of Liberal Reform.” It’s open to the public, and will be delivered by two educators:

  • Naomi Murakawa, associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University
  • Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 10:30 a.m. (location to be announced), there will be a public talk, “Resisting Racial Violence,” by two activists:

  • Hampshire alum Cara Page, from the Audre Lorde Project, an LGBTQ organizing center based in New York City
  • Charlene Carruthers, of Black Youth Project 100, a Chicago-based organization of 18- to 35-year-olds

Full speaker bios are below.

Hampshire has asked the panelists to address the activism that has surged in response to the constant confrontation with police violence and the racialized system of injustice, how the communities they work with are experiencing and responding to this moment, and how they view its significance.

The annual Eqbal Ahmad Lecture honors the teaching, scholarship, and activism of the late Eqbal Ahmad, who was a longtime Hampshire College professor. His colleagues, former students, family, and friends from around the globe joined to make this lecture series a continuing celebration of his life and work. Among previous Eqbal Ahmad lecturers were Edward Said, Arundhati Roy, Kofi Annan, Seymour Hersh, Michelle Alexander, Amira Hass, Mustafa Barghouti, and Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Other activities on campus that week, for students, faculty, and staff, will not be open to the public.

About the Speakers

Professor Naomi Murakawa studies the reproduction of inequality in 20th- and 21st-century American politics, particularly racial criminalization and the politics of carceral expansion. She is the author of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Oxford University Press), which won the Michael Harrington Book Award from the American Political Science Association.

Before coming to Princeton, Professor Murakawa taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She received her BA in women’s studies from Columbia University, her MSc in social policy from the London School of Economics, and her PhD in political science from Yale University. Her research has been supported by Columbia Law School’s Center for the Study of Law and Culture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Program, and the City University of New York Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s academic work concentrates on racial criminalization and the origins of the carceral state. He is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press, 2010), which won the 2011 John Hope Franklin Best Book Award in American Studies. His articles and scholarship have appeared in many publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post.

Professor Muhammad was director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library (NYPL), one of the leading research facilities dedicated to the study of the African diaspora, and held faculty appointments at CUNY and Indiana University. He received his BA in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in American history from Rutgers University. He also holds honorary doctorates from The New School (2013) and Bloomfield College (2014).

Cara Page, Hampshire alum 88F, works tirelessly with LGBTQ youth of color in New York to develop (among many other activities) community-based understandings and practices of safety that are alternatives to policing. She is executive director of the Audre Lorde Project,

A Black queer feminist cultural worker and organizer, Page comes from a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast. For the past 20-plus years, she has worked within the queer and trans liberation movement; the reproductive-, racial-, and economic-justice movements; and the National People’s Movement Assembly. She is a cofounder and the former coordinator of the Kindred Collective, a southeastern network of healers, health practitioners, and organizers seeking ways to respond to and intervene on state violence and generational trauma.

Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black queer feminist community organizer and writer with more than 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist, and youth leadership development. She is the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist, member-led organization dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. She is an Arcus Leadership Fellow and Front Line Leadership Academy graduate who has led grassroots and digital-strategy campaigns for such national organizations as the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center,, and National People’s Action.

Awarded the “Movement Builder Award” by the United States Students Association, Carruthers is committed to working with young organizers who seek to create a more loving and just world. She has facilitated and developed political trainings for the NAACP, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and Wellstone Action. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and holds a master’s in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.

She has been on Democracy Now! recently, in connection with BYP 100’s recent actions with #Black Lives Matter, which have addressed police unions, insisting on bringing them out of the shadows of power where they operate so insidiously.

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