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“The deadly assault on the United States Capitol on January 6 by insurrectionists was a stark reminder that democracy is fragile, and it faces serious threats that need to be addressed.
Now is the time to lower the temperature and to reflect upon and discuss ways we can emerge as a better, stronger nation tested by a pandemic and adversity and help restore our republic.”
-- Paul Grondahl, Director
A semester-long series of events addressing many urgent issues we face today
— including the threat of political insurrection, racist violence, economic inequity, and social strife — and the prospect of emerging a better nation from adversity.

Events will be posted here and our YouTube channel. 

Note: Guests and event dates subject to change. For up-to-date information, we encourage readers to sign up for our daily e-newsletter.


We support local, independent booksellers. See links below to purchase books from the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. 

Joseph Stiglitz on People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent
In conversation with Dean Nilanjan Sen of the University at Albany School of Business
Watch video

Joseph Stiglitz received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001. His most recent book is People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent (paperback, 2020), a visionary proposal for a more humane system of capitalism.

The reviewer for the New Yorker called the book, “Urgent work, by the foremost champion of ‘progressive capitalism.’" The New York Times reviewer said, “The policy shop of every 2020 Democratic candidate for president would be wise to pore over People, Power, and Profits and cherry-pick its best ideas.”

Known for his pioneering work on asymmetric information, Stiglitz's work focuses on income distribution, risk, corporate governance, public policy, macroeconomics and globalization. In 2011, TIME magazine named him "one of the 100 most influential people in the world." A professor at Columbia University and former chief economist at the World Bank, Stiglitz is currently the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) headquartered in Paris, France, and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank in New York City. More about Joseph Stiglitz: 

Nilanjan Sen joined UAlbany as Dean of the Business School in 2018. He formerly served as Associate Dean of Executive Education and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Nanyang Business School of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. At UAlbany, Dean Sen teaches Mergers and Acquisitions and other advanced topics in Corporate Finance.


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Julie Suk
Julie Suk, author of We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment
 In conversation with Janell Hobson
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Julie Suk is the author of We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment, the epic story of the 100-year-long battle to secure Constitutional equality for women in America. 


A leading expert on women and gender in constitutional law, Suk bringing multidisciplinary expertise to the study of women, law, and society. A Professor of Sociology and Political Science at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Professor Suk currently teaches as a Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She's also a frequent commentator in the media on legal issues affecting women, appearing recently in Boston Review, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, PBS, CBS, and other media outlets.

We the Women: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment, charts the legal, historical, and political significance of the ERA's current resurgence, enabled by generations of women constitution-makers. Constitutional law scholar Reva Siegel said of We the Women, “We talk as if only men make constitutions. Julie Suk changes this. She introduces us to the diverse cast of women constitution makers who supported, and opposed, the Equal Rights Amendment over the last century. Their quest showcases concerns missing in standard accounts of the Founding, and shows us how these concerns differed among women and over time. Essential reading for those interested in the future of gender justice.”

If you’d like Julie’s autograph on a book plate to paste into your book, she invites you to write to her directly at

Janell Hobson is Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a frequent contributor to Ms. Magazine. She recently edited The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories (2020). Her new book, When God Lost Her Tongue: Historical Consciousness and the Black Feminist Imagination, is forthcoming this Fall. 


Cosponsored by UAlbany’s Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


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Jill Lepore
The Birth and Future of Data Mining and Voter Manipulation, and Their Impact on American Democracy
In conversation with historian Jill Lepore
View video

“[The Simulmatics Corporation] failed, but not before its scientists built a very early version of the machine in which humanity would in the early 21st century find itself trapped, a machine that applies the science of psychological warfare to the affairs of ordinary life, a machine that manipulates opinion, exploits attention, commodifies information, divides voters, fractures communities, alienates individuals and undermines democracy.”

– Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore, one of the great American historians of her generation, is the author of the new book, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future (2020), a revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad, algorithmic twenty-first century. Launched in 1959, the Simulmatics Corporation mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge― decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica.


In advance praise, novelist George Saunders said, “A person can’t help but feel inspired by the riveting intelligence and joyful curiosity of Jill Lepore. Knowing that there is a mind like hers in the world is a hope-inducing thing.” Longlisted for the National Book Award, If Then was named a “Best Book of 2020” by the Financial Times and Oprah’s O. Magazine, and a “Most Anticipated Book” by Time magazine.


A staff writer for The New Yorker, and professor of American History at Harvard, Lepore is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist: in 2006 for New York Burning, the history of a little-known slave revolt in colonial Manhattan, and in 2019 for Criticism. Other bestsellers include These Truths: A History of the United States (2018) and This America: The Case for the Nation (2019).

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If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

These Truths: A History of the United States

This America: The Case for the Nation

Mark Green
A Conversation with Consumer Advocate, Political Candidate and Progressive Media Personality Mark Green
View video

"The creation of a 'Democracy Advocate' in the White House can be a sine qua non for all the other policy goals that Biden and Harris ran on and that enjoy majority support — climate violence, crumbling infrastructure, gun safety, policing reform — but fail because of a rural states’ and special interest veto over their enactment."

-- Mark Green in the NY Daily News, Dec. 29, 2020.

Mark J. Green, leading consumer rights advocate and progressive radio host, is co-author with Ralph Nader of Wrecking America: How Trump's Lawbreaking and Lies Betray All (2020), and Fake President: Decoding Trump's Gaslighting, Corruption, and General Bullsh*t (2019).


He's the author or editor of 25 books, including Bright, Infinite Future: A Generational Memoir on the Progressive Rise (2016), Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy (2002), and the 1972 bestseller, Who Runs Congress?

Green served as New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner from 1990 to 1993, and as New York City Public Advocate in 1993 and 1997. He also won Democratic primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and mayor of New York City, though he lost in the general elections.

His 2001 campaign as the Democratic Party candidate for New York City Mayor, and loss to Michael Bloomberg, is chronicled in the 2002 Sundance Film, "Off the Record: The 9/11 Election." During the Trump presidency, he founded a progressive shadow cabinet on Twitter with more than 74,000 followers, @ShadowingTrump, consisting of 21 scholars and Washington veterans.

From 2010-16, Green hosted the nationally syndicated radio show Both Sides Now, which aired on 200 stations through IHeartMedia. He also served as president of progressive talk radio network Air America Radio from 2007-9. Follow Mark Green on Twitter:


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Ross Douthat
The Decadent Society: America Before and After the Pandemic
A Conversation with conservative commentator Ross Douthat
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“Ross Douthat is the rare pundit who has managed to keep his head through the ideological turbulence of recent times — and his new book grows out of his characteristic equanimity and good sense.”

— Damon Linker, The Week

“It is a testament to [Douthat's] singular skill and wisdom, then, that he has written so thoughtful and compelling a book that bemoans the end of progress. The Decadent Society is Douthat at his best—clever, considered, counterintuitive, and shot through with insight about modern America.” 

The Washington Free Beacon

Ross Douthat is a columnist for the New York Times op-ed page. His column appears every Tuesday and Sunday, and he co-hosts the Times Op-Ed podcast, "The Argument." Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger on its website. 

He is the author of The Decadent Society, forthcoming in March 2020. His other books include To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of CatholicismBad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics”, Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class”, and a co-author with Reihan Salam of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream." He is the film critic for National Review.


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A Manifesto of Revolutionary Love
In conversation with social justice activist Valarie Kaur
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Valarie Kaur, a civil rights activist, has been active in raising awareness about violence against Asian Americans since the early 2000s as a response to the murder of a beloved family friend, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona on September 15, 2001. Killed by a self-proclaimed “patriot,” Balbir was the first person to be murdered in a hate crime after the attacks of 9/11.


She has devoted her life to responding to hate crimes against people of color, visiting communities affected by violence, interviewing victims and witnesses, documenting incidents on video and in writing, organizing workshops and designing educational curricula to address and prevent violence, and working with victims to find healing and empowerment.


In the wake of the Atlanta massacre, she circulated a call to action. Her key recommendations included learning the names and stories of those who were killed, and lending support to various organizations on the frontlines of this crisis, notably


Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker, lawyer, Sikh faith leader and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project (for resources, visit:​). Her social justice campaigns have helped win policy change on hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, marriage equality and internet freedom.


Reverend William Barber II of The Poor People's Campaign said, “Valarie Kaur is a revolutionary for justice who shows us how to labor for the world we dream.... Her wisdom inspires us to build movements and seek the change that love demands.”


Kaur's 6-minute speech, "Breathe and Push," delivered in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election at the Watch Night Service at the at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C. received 40 million views worldwide. Her TED Talk, "3 Lessons of Revolutionary Love in a Time of Rage," has been watched more than 3 million times.


She is the author of the new book, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (2020), a manifesto that draws from the wisdom of sages, scientists, and activists to reclaim love as an active, public, and revolutionary force that creates new possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world.


Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, called the book, “Inspirational, radical, fierce . . . a reliable moral compass guided by revolutionary love.” CNN host Van Jones said, “This is the book we have been waiting for. It calls us up and calls us into the hard and necessary work to heal our wounds and reimagine the world.”

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Reimagining the American Economy
A Conversation with Mike Konczal and Sarah Jaffe
Premiere date tba 

“Mike Konczal [is] one of our most powerful advocates of financial reform‚ [a] heroic critic of austerity‚ and a huge resource for progressives.” 

— Paul Krugman

“By pulling apart the myth that work is love, Sarah Jaffe shows us that we can reimagine futures built on care, rather than exploitation.”

— Naomi Klein

Mike Konczal is noted by the New York Times for his “cult following among progressives.” Together with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, Konczal coauthored Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy (2015). His new book is Freedom From the Market: America’s Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand (2021), which addresses the failures of an unregulated free market to address problems posed by health coverage affordability, student loan debt, retirement security, child care, work-life balance, and access to home ownership.
“An economic manifesto on behalf of the 99% poorly served by the present economy.”—Kirkus Reviews


Sarah Jaffe is a leading labor journalist and author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt (2016), which historian Robin D.G. Kelley called, “The most compelling social and political portrait of our age.” Her new book is Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone (2021), a deeply-reported examination of why “doing what you love” is a recipe for exploitation, creating a new tyranny of work in which we cheerily acquiesce to doing jobs that take over our lives. The New Republic called it, “Illuminating and inspiring,” and said, “Jaffe is clear-eyed about all the ways employers exploit workers’ goodwill.”

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  • Freedom From the Market: America’s Fight to Liberate Itself from the Grip of the Invisible Hand

  • Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

Eddie Glaude (c) Sameer A. K

“Broken though it may be, America is ours, and together we can make this place anew, if we are finally honest with ourselves about the ugliness that has the country by the throat again.” – Eddie Glaude, Time magazine, January 11, 2021.

Eddie Glaude is a leading public intellectual, Time magazine columnist, and author of numerous books including Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.

The James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, he graduated from Morehouse College where he served as Student Government President. His newest book is Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, a New York Times bestseller that was named one of the “Ten Best Books of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune, and one of the “Best Books of the Year” by the Washington Post.

Begin Again is . . . filled with the type of passion, lyricism, and fire that James Baldwin commands and deserves…. This phenomenal work [is] a timeless and spellbinding conversation between two brilliant writers.”—Edwidge Danticat

“[For] Americans seeking to understand our past, our present, and the possible futures before us, Begin Again challenges, illuminates, and points us toward, if not a more perfect union, at least a more just one.”—­Jon Meacham

In conversation with Derik Jalal Smith, Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College and former Assistant Professor in the UAlbany English Department. He received the 2019 College Language Association Book Award for Robert Hayden In Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry and the Black Arts Era.

This virtual event is cosponsored by Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies at the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont McKenna College Literature Department.

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The Psychology of Terrorists
In conversation with psychologist John Horgan
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"Horgan reminds us that although there is no pathology that explains all terrorists or their crimes, nonetheless, individual choice matters. This book provides an important contribution to our understanding of the political psychology of terrorism. Essential reading for both students and terrorism professionals, from one of world’s best informed and wisest analysts of terror."

-- Jessica Stern, Harvard University, USA 

John Horgan is a Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University’s Department of Psychology where he also directs the Violent Extremism Research Group. He is a native of County Kerry, Ireland, and received his Ph.D. in applied psychology from University College Cork. Professor Horgan is one of the world’s leading experts on terrorist psychology.


His books include The Psychology of Terrorism, which has been published in more than a dozen languages around the world, Walking Away from Terrorism, Divided We Stand, Leaving Terrorism Behind, and Terrorism Studies: A Reader. He is an Editor of the journal Terrorism and Political Violence. He is also a member of the Research Working Group of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. He is the author of a forthcoming book, Terrorist Minds, scheduled to be published by Columbia University Press in 2022. 

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The Psychology of Terrorism

Walking Away from Terrorism: Accounts of Disengagement from Radical and Extremist Movements

Divided We Stand: The Strategy and Psychology of Ireland's Dissident Terrorists 

Terrorism Studies: A Reader

Alexandra Minna Stern and Cas Mudde
Is White Nationalism Becoming Mainstream?
A Conversation with Alexandra Minna Stern
and Cas Mudde
View video

“[N]o western democracy is naturally immune to the far-right.

— Cas Mudde, The Globe-Post, September 18, 2018

“To a good extent, this is old wine in new bottles, and some of those new bottles are social media platforms and different types of networking.”

—Alexandra Minna Stern on The Majority Report with Sam Seder, August 8, 2019

Alexandra Stern, a recognized authority on the history of eugenics, is the author of Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination (2019), an examination of the alt-right’s alarming successes in selling fantasies of white supremacy to the American mainstream. “[T]he definitive guide to alt-right ideas today. Stern brilliantly documents how a younger generation of activists are repackaging the Far Right, [and] waging a battle for cultural dominance.” –sociologist Arlene Stein

Cas Mudde, Dutch expert on the rise of far-right political movements around the globe, is the author of The Far Right Today (2019), a concise overview of far-right politics in the U.S., India, Brazil and across the European continent. Elif Shafak called it, “Powerful, timely, important. A much-needed analysis.”

The Washington Post reviewer said, “Cas Mudde is one of the most clear-eyed, trenchant analysts of politics in the West.” Interesting to note, Mudde’s brother is the former far-right political leader and “fascist rock” musician Tim Mudde of the Netherlands.

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Maurice Chammah
The Past and Future of Criminal Justice
A Conversation with Maurice Chammah, author of Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty
In partnership with the National Death Penalty Archive at the University at Albany
View video

“I was trying to get readers to see how much power they have as voters when it comes to the criminal justice system…. I want people to feel a sense of responsibility and culpability for this system we have—and for the work to produce a new one.”

— Maurice Chammah, Guernica, Jan. 21, 2021

Maurice Chammah, journalist and staff writer for The Marshall Project, has reported on the criminal justice system for the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Esquire, and Mother Jones. His new book is Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty. Pulitzer-winning author Gilbert King (Devil in the Grove) said “Superbly reported and beautifully written, Let the Lord Sort Them shines a bright light in the darkest corners of the criminal justice system. It is a masterwork of nonfiction that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.”

Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer winner for Blood in the Water, called it, “an extraordinarily hopeful glimpse of a future in which we are finally beginning to imagine a very different version of justice—one in which the immediate and generational fallout is not so devastating.”

Cosponsored by the University Libraries and School of Criminal Justice at UAlbany.

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Bhaskar Sunkara and Kristen Ghodsee
Socialism in the Age of AOC and Bernie Sanders
A Conversation with Bhaskar Sunkara and Kristen Ghodsee
View video

“Socialism was made to be an ideology of radical democracy, of working-class self-emancipation, not a tool for state-managed development.”

— Bhaskar Sunkara


“When women enjoy their own sources of income, and the state guarantees social security in old age, illness, and disability, women have no economic reason to stay in abusive, unfulfilling, or otherwise unhealthy relationships.”

— Kristen Ghodsee

Bhaskar Sunkara is the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality (paperback 2020), a history of the economic idea and a realistic vision for its future. Naomi Klein said, “Accessible, irreverent and entertaining, Bhaskar Sunkara has delivered a razor-sharp guide to socialism's history, transformative promise, and path to power.” Sunkara is the founder and editor of Jacobin, a socialist quarterly for a new generation. Noam Chomsky called Jacobin, "a bright light in dark times."

Kristen Ghodsee is the author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence (paperback, 2020), an irreverent primer on the benefits of socialism for women. The reviewer for Oprah’s O. Magazine said, “With acumen and wit, [Ghodsee] lays bare the inequities women face under capitalism and the desirability of decoupling ‘love and intimacy from economic considerations.’” An expert on the post-socialist upheavals of contemporary Eastern Europe, Ghodsee is a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Why We Need a Revolution in the Food Industry
A Conversation with Mark Bittman
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“The world of food and agriculture symbolizes most of what’s gone wrong in the United States. But because food is plentiful for most people, and the damage that conventional agriculture does isn’t readily evident to everyone, it’s important that we look deeper, beyond food, to the structure that underlies most decisions: the political economy.”

— Mark Bittman, New York Times Op-Ed Page, Feb. 11, 2015 

Mark Bittman, author of 30 bestselling books, is one of America’s most influential food writers. His newest book is Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal (2021)— an examination of food production systems from the inventions of fire and farming, to the agribusiness monopolies and chemical cuisines of the 21st century. The book explains not only how we can improve the health of our bodies, but also that of our climate and our society, by reforming the ways we grow, process and distribute food.

Bittman wrote about food for the New York Times for more than 30 years, serving as food columnist, lead food writer for the Magazine, and the nation’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. Bittman is currently Special Advisor on Food Policy at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he teaches and hosts a lecture series called Food, Public Health, and Social Justice. He is also the editor-in-chief of Heated. More information at

Note to students: If you are interested in working on issues related to food, justice and improving the planet,

“A must read for policymakers, activists, and concerned citizens looking to better understand our food system, and how we can fix it.”—Vice President Al Gore on Animal, Vegetable, Junk 

“Bittman leaves no stone unturned in the quest to understand how Big Food expropriated our land, water, and sustenance. Everyone who eats needs to read this book. The future of our species and our planet depends on it.”—Leah Penniman, founder of the Capital Region’s Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black 

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BobHerbert documentary "Against All Odds"
"Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class"
A discussion with eminent American journalist Bob Herbert 
View video

“I think that what African Americans have done in this country has actually been heroic— that they have overcome these obstacles. And millions upon millions of Blacks have done just that.”

— Bob Herbert 

"Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class" (2017, U.S., 75 min.) is a documentary about the extraordinary difficulties that African Americans have faced in their efforts to establish and maintain a middle class standard of living. Veteran journalist Bob Herbert presents the rarely-told history of Black families as they pursue the American dream in the face of unrelenting barriers.

Bob Herbert, journalist and columnist, championed the working poor and middle class on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times for 18 years. Marian Wright Edelman has said, “Bob Herbert's strong, brilliant voice consistently reminds America of where we still fall short of the ideals of the nation we want to be and can become.” He currently serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow for the progressive think tank, Demos. His books include Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream (2007) and Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America (2014), which Oprah’s O. Magazine called a “masterwork of reporting.”

Cosponsored by the UAlbany Documentary Studies Program and History Department in association with History 220, “Public Policy in Modern America,” taught by Professor Lauren Kozakiewicz

Watch the film on (free):  

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Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
The Undocumented Americans
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio in conversation with University at Albany Ph.D. student Eric Macias
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“I don’t want all of the images of our people during this period to be of us on our knees or in cages or begging for soap. I want this book to also exist as a snapshot of this period in time, where there are people who are different, who are imperfect, who are weird, who are hardworking, who are just people.

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2020

“Karla’s book sheds light on people’s personal experiences and allows their stories to be told and their voices to be heard.”— Selena Gomez

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, an immigrant from Ecuador and one of the first undocumented students at Harvard, is the author of The Undocumented Americans, a 2020 National Book Award finalist for Nonfiction. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale. The book explores the varied experiences and rich personalities of undocumented people throughout the nation— the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse their day-to-day lives. The Undocumented Americans was named a “Best Book of the Year” by the New York Times Book Review, TIME, NPR, Library Journal, Vulture and the New York Public Library.


“For all the political debate that surrounds them, it remains rare for undocumented Americans to share their own stories in full. In this nearly decade-long feat of reporting, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s book… shows the complex nature of undocumented immigrants’ lives.”—TIME.

Eric Macias is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies Department at UAlbany, and a Fellow of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard University. His dissertation research focuses on undocumented youth who are pushed out of school, and their negotiation of belonging and inclusion.

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Sharada Balachandran Orihuela and Christopher Pastore
The Multicultural Foundations of American Society, and the Implications for Our Multicultural Future 
With Sharada Balachandran Orihuela and Christopher Pastore
View video

“I had just grown up in this family with all its complexities and its diasporas…. It’s only as an adult that I realize how wild it is.”

— Sharada Balachandran Orihuela, on memories of her first cousin, Vice President Kamala Harris, and her extended family in Maryland Today, Feb. 3, 2021.

Sharada Balachandran Orihuela is the author of Fugitives, Smugglers, and Thieves: Piracy and Personhood in American Literature (2018), a book that investigates the multiracial and multicultural world of pirates, escaped slaves, counterfeiters, illegal migrants and black market traders as they are portrayed in 18th and 19th century American writings. A first cousin to Kamala Harris, and a member of a large multiracial family, Balachandran Orihuela was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and Indian father, and spent her childhood moving frequently between Mexico, India and the U.S. She currently serves as Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland. 

Christopher Pastore, Undergraduate Director of the UAlbany History Department, is a social and cultural historian of early America and the Atlantic world, and the author of Between Land and Sea: The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England (2014).

Cosponsored by the UAlbany History Department

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Issac Bailey
Why Didn't We Riot? A Black Man in Trumpland
 Issac Bailey in conversation with Dr. Alfredo Medina
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“In Issac J. Bailey’s book, James Baldwin meets James Bond—that is, Bailey performs a kind of racial spy mission, bringing back intelligence from deep in Trumpland about the kind of thinking that continues to have disastrous consequences for our country. Why Didn’t We Riot? is a very important book.” 

-- Author Clifford Thompson


Issac Bailey, award-winning journalist and author of the new book of essays, Why Didn't We Riot?: A Black Man in Trumpland.

A former columnist and senior writer for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach SC and a former Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard, Bailey provides an unflinching and personal examination of matters of race in the American South. The book addresses police brutality and profiling, battles over Confederate flags and monuments, overt and covert support for white supremacy and Donald Trump, and many other subjects. A former member of a mostly white Evangelical Christian church for 18 years, Bailey provides an intimate inside view of Southern race relations.

Kirkus Reviews called it, “A powerful lesson in history and truth…Through a combination of poignant memoir and social and cultural analysis, Bailey tackles a range of hot topics as well as his own prior complacency. A masterful storyteller…Bailey pulls no punches…Brilliant, searing, and surprisingly vulnerable.” 

Bailey will be interviewed by Dr. Alfredo Medina is Executive Director for the UAlbany Office for Public Engagement, and Associate Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Medina holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership from the University at Albany. Dr. Medina's research focuses on the experiences of AfroLatinx collegians, specifically in negotiating their ethnoracial identity—Black and Latinx simultaneously—while challenging ideologies that promote and perpetuate anti-Blackness in the Latinx community.

In his writings, Issac Bailey discusses not only the challenges of racial injustice for his community and its impact on his family, but also his personal struggles with a lifelong stutter, as well as a neurological condition called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP). He credits these obstacles with helping him find the determination to speak his mind and express his convictions.

The event is cosponsored by UAlbany’s Office for Public Engagement, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.


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Sam Jackson
Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group
A conversation with author and UAlbany Homeland Security professor Sam Jackson
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“The defining feature of the far right is a desire to change some fundamental features of a political system to restore a lost Golden Age in the past…. The racist far right wants to restore an alleged lost Golden Age when white people (and particularly men) had more power and there were fewer alleged threats posed by other racial groups.”— Sam Jackson

Sam Jackson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity at the University at Albany. His new book is Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group (2020), the first book-length investigation of America’s most prominent antigovernment group, one that advocates for a “second American Revolution.”


Formed in 2009, Oath Keepers gained notoriety for its involvement in the Bundy Ranch standoff of 2014 and the Malheur Refuge occupation of 2016, and gives voice to the American far right’s distrust of government and endorsement of violence. Jackson’s work has recently received coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist and Voice of America.

“A groundbreaking study of how antigovernment extremism is reaching new audiences with fear-based stories that call supporters to vigilante action. Oath Keepers is a must-read for anyone concerned with this growing threat to the foundations of democratic governance.” — Kathleen Blee, author of Understanding Racist Activism: Theory, Methods and Research

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Kathleen Belew and Seyward Darby
The Front Lines of Hate
A Conversation with Kathleen Belew
and Seyward Darby
View video

“[T]he white power movement reveals a startling and unexpected origin: the aftermath of the Vietnam War.” –Kathleen Belew
“[W]hite women are more likely than white men to ‘hold exclusionary views about what it means to be an American’…” –Seyward Darby, acknowledging the work of Ashley Jardina, White Identity Politics

Kathleen Belew is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2018). The New York Times reviewer called it, “[A] gripping study of white power… The book’s explosive thesis: that the white power movement… emerged as a radical reaction to the [Vietnam] war…is a breathtaking argument.”

Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago, Belew and her work are featured in the PBS Frontline documentary “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis.”

Seyward Darby is the author of Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism (2020), a book based on in-depth profiles of women who have participated in white nationalist movements. The book was named an NPR “Best Book of the Year” and a New York Times “Editor's Choice Pick.”

Ibram X. Kendi called it, “eye-opening and unforgettable,” and Nell Irvin Painter called it, “masterfully reported and incisive.”

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