Confronting Racism

Experts Discuss Race in America

Perhaps no issue is as pervasive and complex in America as systemic racism. Its reach is long, its effects destructive. It has shaped our history and our identities, and it continues to influence virtually every aspect of our culture and politics.

At the same time, a centuries-long struggle against systemic racism has left its own indelible marks on America's past and present. A deep commitment to racial justice, shared by many citizens, has sparked protests and uprisings that continue to renew our democratic principles and move us forward, however haltingly, toward a more perfect union.

Inspired by stunning instances of continued injustice and the widespread protests of 2020, Confronting Racism is series of conversations with faculty experts from IU and other universities designed to examine systemic racism in its varied forms and to explore the modes and methods of protest used to confront this central issue in American life.

Brought to you by Indiana University's Center For Research on Race, Ethnicity and Society, College Arts and Humanities Institute, and Arts and Humanities Council, the series will address current events as well as our country’s longer and much more expansive struggle against injustice. In this, the series represents and renews our campus’s commitment to research, dialogue, and collaborations that engage critically with the most urgent and important issues facing our nation.

Streaming live, Tuesdays at 8:00pm on the Arts and Humanities Council's Facebook page.

Protest and Change

July 14th


Stephanie Huezo

Fordham University

Stephanie M. Huezo is a Latin American and Latinx historian with a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Her research focuses on survival and resistance tactics of community-based organizations in both El Salvador and the U.S. She is also interested in the study of memory and belonging that go beyond national borders. In her research and in the classroom, Huezo uses both oral histories and written documents to highlight different perspectives. Her work has appeared in Latino Studies Journal and Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures. 

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Matthew Countryman 

University of Michigan

Matthew Countryman is chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan where he is also Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, History and American Culture. He is the author of Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania Press), which won the 2006 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for the best book in civil rights history from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently working on a history of African-American mayors and U.S. politics from the late 1960s to the 1990s. 

Faculty Page

Cristal Chanelle Truscott 

Northwestern School of Communication

Cristal Chanelle Truscott is a playwright, director, scholar, culture worker, facilitator, and founder of Progress Theatre (PT), a touring ensemble company using theatre as anti-racism engagement to encourage cross-community conversations, connections, and consciousness. As a playwright and director she creates “NeoSpirituals,” or acapella musicals using "SoulWork," the generative method she developed from generations-old African American performance traditions. (See “SoulWork” in Black Acting Methods, Routledge, 2016). Her plays blend pop culture and academic conversations, fusing genre from Negro Spirituals and Folklore to Blues, R&B, and Hip Hop to produce performances that span and straddle time between histories and the present to engage communities across race, class, gender and spiritual identity. Her artistic work has garnered recognition and grants from the likes of the 2019 Creative Capital Award, the National Theatre Project Grant (New England Foundation for the Arts), Ford Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, MAP Fund, and the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund Grant. She is a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, which honors artists who are influential in the shaping of powerful creative movements in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre, and related multidisciplinary work. For more about her work, visit Dr. Truscott's scholarly research focuses on representations of spiritual diversity in African American Theatre before 1950, most recently featured in The Routledge Companion to African American Theater and Performance (2018). She has served as assistant editor of the performance journal, TDR: The Drama Review; associate editor for Azizah Magazine; and on the editorial boards of the publications Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Black Masks Magazine: Theater and Entertainment. 

Faculty Page

Maisha Wester

Indiana University

Dr. Maisha Wester is an Associate Professor in American Studies, and African American and African Diaspora Studies. She is also a Fulbright scholar, having won a 2017-2018 fellowship to the UK. Her general areas of interest are Gothic literature and Horror Film Studies. Dr. Wester's research specifically interrogates the politics of black representation in Gothic literature and Horror film, how these tropes and trends are translated into actual sociopolitical discourse and legislation, and how Black diasporic authors and directors write back to and against these representations. Her first monograph African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places specifically interrogate African American appropriation of the Gothic, from narratives of slavery on into the late twentieth-century fiction of writers such as Toni Morrison and Randall Kenan. She is also co-editor of the collection Twenty-First-Century Gothic and the book review editor for the international journal Gothic Studies. 

Faculty Page



  • Dina Okamoto - Indiana University; Professor, Department of Sociology; Director, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society 
  • Vanessa Cruz-Nichols - Indiana University; Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Upcoming Topics and Panelists

Media, Technology, and Social Media

July 21

  • Ryan Comfort - Indiana University; Ph.D. Student and Associate Instructor, Media School
  • Danielle Kilgo - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; John & Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity, and Equality, Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication 
  • Wendy Chun - Simon Fraser University; Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, School of Communication
  • Marissa Moorman - Indiana University; Professor, Department of History
  • Janae Cummings (Moderator) - Indiana University; Director of Communications and Marketing, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies

Social Justice and Incarceration

July 28

Presented in partnership with the Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community.

Indigenous Perspectives

August 4

  • Liza Black - Indiana University; Assistant Professor, Department of History, Native American and Indigenous Studies Program
  • Julie Reed - Penn State University; Associate Professor in History, College of Liberal Arts
  • Joseph Pierce - Stony Brook University; Associate Professor, Department of Hispanic Languages and Literature

Global Solidarities

August 11

  • Kevin Brown - Indiana University; Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law
  • Tiffany Florvil - University of New Mexico; Assistant Professor, Department of History