Rutgers law professor to discuss race and Obama. Thursday, February 5, 2009

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The Africana Studies Program will present a series of programs at Vassar this spring in honor of its 40th anniversary. The first lecture in the series, on Thursday, February 5, is by Rutgers law professor Imani Perry, who will speak about “A New Day? The Reality and Rhetoric of Race in the Obama Era.” Perry’s presentation, which will be free and open to the public, will begin at 5:00 pm in the Villard Room of the College Center.

Imani Perry writes on issues of race and racism in historic and contemporary contexts, and in a wide range of fields including law, literature, and popular culture. Her forthcoming book sets forth an argument that racial inequality has a new face in the 21st century United States, and she proposes strategies for addressing the challenges of the new face of inequality.

Perry’s first book, Prophets of the Hood: The Poetics and Politics of Hip Hop argued hip-hop is, in essence, an African American cultural product. The monograph was well received by critics. Journal of Popular Culture lauded: “This magnificent book . . . gives voice to hip-hop’s aesthetic . . . with the inventiveness, style, and eclecticism personified by the genre’s most prominent artists, ” while Choice commended the book as “one of the best in-depth analysis of US hip-hop culture.”

Perry grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She earned her bachelor’s degree at Yale, and obtained her JD and PhD degrees from Harvard.

This presentation, by the Africana Studies Program, is the fifth Norman E. Hodges Endowed Biennial Lecture in Race and American Law.


All events are free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • On Thursday, Feb. 5, by Rutgers law professor Imani Perry, will discuss “A New Day? The Reality and Rhetoric of Race in the Obama Era.” Villard Room of the College Center, 5:00 pm.
  • On Saturday, Feb. 14, formerly incarcerated women will present a play, Time In. Co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Greenhaven Prison and the Women Studies Programs; Departments of Sociology and Geography; and the Dean of Faculty. Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, 8:00pm.
  • On Saturday, April 4, New York State Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Brian Fischer will keynote the 30th anniversary conference of the Green Haven Prison Program. Aula, Ely Hall, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
  • On Saturday, April 18, activist and author Randall Robinson, will give the keynote address during the Africana Studies Program’s 40th anniversary conference. Johnson’s address will also be the 2009 Matthew Vassar Lecture. Taylor Hall Auditorium  (Room 102), 6 pm.


The Africana Studies Program, commemorating its 40th anniversary this year, is Vassar’s longest-running multidisciplinary program. It provides students with a comparative perspective in their approach to the study of the histories, politics, cultures and experiences of peoples of African origin. The wide-reaching disciplines of its faculty enable the program to offer a uniquely comprehensive curriculum, covering the fields of art, education, film, geology, history, literature, political science, psychology, religion and sociology, as well as cross-cultural and areas studies.

People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, January 21, 2009