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Presented By: The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Kamala Harris and the Reframing of the Vice Presidency

A Conversation on History, Identity and Politics in Honor of the 2021 Inauguration

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This conversation is one of the final events of the U-M Democracy & Debate Theme Semester. Launched in the summer of 2020, the Theme Semester concludes in January 2021 and marks the historic results of this election season as our new President and Vice President take office under extraordinary circumstances. While this election season has wrought charges of voter suppression, claims of irregularities, and violence in the service of vastly unproven assertions of fraud, for this event we place our primary focus on Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, who will make history on January 20th. She has broken barriers in American politics and will serve in office during a moment marked by a global pandemic and economic hardship, as well as by an upswing in nativist sentiments, racism, and a politics of exclusion. Harris brings a wealth of experience — as a former US Senator and state's attorney general — and a cluster of identities — as a Black woman and a woman of South Asian descent, a daughter of immigrants, a graduate of a historically Black university, a mother within a blended family — to a role that she will inevitably reframe in the years to come. This panel promises a rich discussion on the diverse histories that intersect in this moment, their meanings for the communities Harris embodies, and for the nation as a whole.

Zoom - Registration Required:


Introduction by Provost Susan Collins, Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, professor of economics, and former dean of the Ford School

Annette Joseph-Gabriel, assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies and Editor of the Global Black History section of Public Books

Ian Shin, assistant professor of History and American Culture (Asian/Pacfic Islander Studies)

Michelle May-Curry, PhD Candidate, American Culture

Angela X. Ocampo, assistant professor of Political Science; faculty associate, Center for Political Studies and Latina/o Studies

Jasmine Williams, a rising senior in the Ross School of Business with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing, and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Beta Eta (UM) chapter

Moderated by Ruby Tapia, Chair, Department of Women's and Gender Studies; associate professor of English Language & Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies

Sponsored by the Democracy & Debate Theme Semester; Departments of Women’s & Gender Studies and Afroamerican & African Studies in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender;Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Beta Eta Chapter; and U-M National Pan Hellenic Council.

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