University of Rochester

EVENT: Morgan Lecture Focuses on Racial Stigma and Ethnic Identity in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities

October 16, 2008

J. Lorand Matory, professor of anthropology and African and African American Studies at Harvard University, will explore how universities shape the racial and ethnic identities of black students, alumni, and faculty from the United States and abroad on Oct. 22 at the University of Rochester.

As part of the annual Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures, Matory will speak on "The Other African Americans: Racial Stigma, Ethnicity and the Hidden Social Curriculum of the University." The talk is free and open to the public.

Drawing on decades of experience in and around Howard University in Washington, D.C., as well as month-long research visits with alumni in New Orleans, Trinidad, Nigeria and Jamaica, Matory will discuss the process of racial and ethnic self-construction in the American and transnational black bourgeoisie

"Like Black America, historically black Howard University hosts dozens of home-grown or immigrant ethnic groups of African descent—among them, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Louisiana Creoles of color, Gullahs and Geechees, Indians of partly African descent, and their children," wrote Matory. "While their shared African ancestry has drawn them together in a shared setting, Howard students, faculty, administrators and staff become highly articulate—and indeed imaginative—about the ethnic, genealogical, and cultural differences among themselves."

The Oct. 22 lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in the Lander Auditorium of Hutchison Hall on the University's River Campus. Thomas P. Gibson, editor of the Morgan Lecture series published by the University of Chicago Press, will introduce the speaker and a reception will follow.

Matory earned his A.B. in anthropology, magna cum laude, from Harvard in 1982 and his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1991. His book on Yoruba religion and politics, Sex and the Empire that Is No More was noted by Choice magazine as one of the outstanding scholarly books of 1994. His book on gender, nationalism, and the role of manumitted black travelers in shaping the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion, Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationlism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé won the Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the best book of the year, from the African Studies Association.

The Morgan Lecture Series honors the memory of Lewis Henry Morgan, the distinguished 19th-century anthropologist and University of Rochester benefactor, and has been presented annually since 1963. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious lecture series in anthropology in North America. Presentations by the speakers are published by University of Chicago Press.

For more information, contact the Department of Anthropology at (585) 275-8614.