Social Science Tavern Spring Series on Race in the United States

unlearn racism in lights dark street

As a nation the United States has not come to grips with its’ racialized past, and that is causing significant conflict in the present. Citizens and residents in the US must come together in a candid and soul-searching conversation about race, intolerance, and change in order for us to live together and thrive. Hoping to contribute to this national conversation about race, the Atlanta Social Science Tavern will focus its spring sessions on race and ethnicity in the United States, with special attention to the Atlanta area.

For more information or to volunteer as a speaker, please contact Elisabeth Sheff at

Please join us in Atlanta at the beloved lefty watering hole, Manuel’s Tavern, for these interesting and educational sessions! You can find information about time and location at the Social Science Tavern website,

Schedule at a Glance Spring 2015 Social Science Tavern (so far)

January 29, No More Invisible Man: Black Professional Men in the Workplace
• Adia Harvey-Wingfield

February 11, Public Housing, Relocations, and Urban Restructuring in Atlanta
• Chandra Ward

March 3, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom
• Catherine Meeks

March 26, “Whole Indian:” Indigenous Americans Finding Wholeness
• Marshall “Itai” Jeffries

April 14, Race, Residential Patterns, and Inequality in Metro Atlanta
• Regine Jackson

April 30, The Psychology of Race and the Impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Process
• Trina Brown

May 4, Mixed Race Lesbian Step Parenting
• Katie Acosta

May 21, Whiteness as a Race: Exploration of Whiteness and White privilege
• Elisabeth Sheff

Full Descriptions

No More Invisible Man: Black Professional Men in the Workplace
January 29, Adia Harvey-Wingfield
• Black professional men are often overlooked in media, sociological research, and the cultural imagination. In this presentation, I’ll discuss the ways race and gender inform how these men interact with women coworkers. Findings point to ways that black men may be untapped allies in efforts to create more gender-egalitarian workplaces.

Public Housing, Relocations, and Urban Restructuring in Atlanta
February 11, Chandra Ward
• Like other cities around the US, Atlanta has demolished its public housing “projects” and instead moved former residents to mixed housing subsidized by section eight vouchers. Chandra Ward presents on the findings from a longitudinal study of public housing residents before, during, and after moving from public housing to private rentals. Ward details the social and health implications of the study, discussing how changes in social contacts and transportation can impact people’s lives, and the ways in which they navigate their shifting conditions.

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom
March 3, Catherine Meeks
• In this presentation Dr. Catherine Meeks discusses the lives of William and Ellen Craft, who were enslaved but were able to escape from Macon. Their story is one of faith, courage, tenacity and an incredible thirst for freedom. Dr. Meeks uses her extensive knowledge of cross-cultural stories to cultivate rich conversations on race, an approach which can be a little less intimidating than other approaches because stories invite us to remove ourselves enough to explore the issues of race from a wider perspective.

“Whole Indian:” Indigenous Americans Finding Wholeness through Memory, Community and Radical Self-Love
March 26, Marshall “Itai” Jeffries
• Among racial and ethnic minorities, the indigenous inhabitants of the United States, American Indians or Native Americans are perhaps some of the most neglected. We rarely see American Indian people on television and fail to include them in many of our social and educational efforts. In this presentation, Itai Jeffries explains his research findings that document the stories of Native people from all over the US in order to shed light on their racial identities, racialized perceptions, and experiences with racism. Challenging popular conceptions of Native people as fractions of a whole imagined self (half-Indian, one quarter Indian, etc.), Jeffries’s research explains how Native people use language and redefine themselves outside of mass media stereotypes.

Everything in its Place: Race, Residential Patterns and Inequality in Metro Atlanta
April 14, Regine Jackson
• In this presentation, Dr. Regine Jackson (Associate Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Agnes Scott College) explains some of the demographic changes that the Atlanta metropolitan area has undergone in the last 40 years. She challenges the idea that the incorporation of immigrants and new ethnic groups has dismantled the black-white dichotomy that once characterized the “old South.” Using data from the U.S. Census and field research with Caribbean and African immigrants, Dr. Jackson argues that while many new immigrants have diversified predominantly white suburbs, for blacks – regardless of ancestry – residential settlement and business location continue to be structured by race. The presentation hopes to raise questions about enduring patterns of segregation, spatial inequality and the meaning of diversity in the “post-racial” South.

The Psychology of Race and the Impact of Communal Trauma on the Collective Perception of Self: Explorations of the Truth and Reconciliation Process
April 30, Trina Brown
• In this presentation, Dr. Trina Brown (SCAD) discusses her contributions to a recent book examining the potential benefit of a Truth and Reconciliation Process (TRP) in this country. Brown’s chapter focuses on the psychology of race and the impact of communal trauma on the collective perception of self, and her talk will also include a discussion of the overall purpose of the book and the psychological implications. For a summary of the book that provides a description of the content of each chapter, see the website:

Mixed Race Lesbian Step Parenting
May 4, Katie Acosta
• In this presentation, Dr. Katie Acosta (Department of Sociology, Georgia State University) reports on her qualitative interview based research with women who are raising children in same sex stepparent households. Acosta explains the ways that race, ethnicity, class, and culture shape the parenting experiences for the mixed race families in her study. As these families include a stepparent, who was not part of the family’s original formation, the racial, ethnic and cultural tensions they experience are new to them at least in part and they must learn how to negotiate these tensions with their children. Dr. Acosta explains how mixed-race lesbian families negotiate cultural tensions and the strategic ways in which they go about presenting as a family.

Whiteness as a Race: Exploration of Whiteness and White privilege
May 21, Elisabeth Sheff
• Whiteness is the race that passes as no race at all, and in this presentation Dr. Elisabeth Sheff (Director of Legal Services, Sheff Consulting Group) explores some of the intricacies of whiteness in the United States. Dr. Sheff explains how social settings can still be racialized, even when there are no people of color present. This presentation explains Peggy McIntosh’s idea of the “invisible knapsack” of privilege that white people carry around with them as they move through life, and looks at some common mistakes well-meaning white people make when interacting with people of color. The presentation will close with a group discussion of the strategies white people can use to combat white privilege.

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE

One of a handful of global experts on polyamory and the foremost international expert on children in polyamorous families, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff has studied gender and
families of sexual minorities for the last 16 years. Sheff’s television appearances include CNN, and the National Geographic, and she has given more than 20 radio, podcast, print, and television interviews with sources from Radio Slovenia to National Public Radio, the Sunday London Times to the Boston Globe and Newsweek. By emphasizing research methodology and findings in her discussions, Dr. Sheff presents the kind of public intellectualism that encourages audience members to think critically regarding gender, sexualities, and families.

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