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Stereotypes, Race, and Resistance: A Political Ethics of Belief

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Event Details:

Join us for the 2023-2024 Tanner Lectures on “Stereotypes, Race, and Resistance: A Political Ethics of Belief” with Tommie Shelby, the Lee Simpkins Family Professor of Arts and Sciences and Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. This lecture series will examine the political ethics that should guide those subjected to enduring and degrading racial stereotypes. 

In the United States and across the globe, racial stereotypes remain a serious social problem, with no easy solution. The members of disadvantaged racial groups navigate a social world with these stigmatizing assumptions hanging over them, sometimes threatening their very self-concept. Focusing on the Black experience in America, these lectures aim to identify the distinctive moral wrongs that such stereotypes represent and to explain why a “political ethics of belief” must be among the remedies. The lectures also scrutinize a time-honored mode of resistance to racial stereotypes in the Black political tradition (a kind of group uplift through public image management), highlighting its limits and perils, but also its lamentable indispensability.

The first lecture, “How Racial Stereotypes Wrong” will focus on what's most morally troubling about racial stereotypes and will take place on Wednesday, November 1 from 5-7 p.m. PST. The second lecture, “Resisting Racial Stereotypes”, will focus on how racialized groups, and Black people in particular, should respond to stereotypes about them and will take place on Thursday, November 2 from 5-7 p.m. PST. A discussion seminar that focuses on both lectures takes place on Friday, November 3 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. PST. The first two lectures will take place at Encina Hall, in the Bechtel Conference Center Main Hall. The discussion seminar will take place at Encina Hall, in the Oksenberg Room on the 3rd floor. Please note that these events are in-person only, and RSVPs are requested to attend. Walk-ins are welcome. Attendees should register for each of the events they plan to attend (lecture 1, lecture 2, discussion seminar). RSVP here.

This event is co-sponsored with the Office of the President. 

Speaker Bios:

Tommie Shelby is the Lee Simpkins Family Professor of Arts and Sciences and Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. Shelby’s most recent book is The Idea of Prison Abolition (Princeton University Press, 2022), which is based on his 2018 Carl G. Hempel Lectures at Princeton University. The book was co-winner of the Easton Award from the Foundations of Political Thought section of the American Political Science Association.

Lerone A. Martin is the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor in Religious Studies and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Martin is an award-winning author whose most recent book, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism, was published in February 2023 by Princeton University Press.

Brian Lowery is the Walter Kenneth Kilpatrick Professor of Organizational Behavior, and was recently named founding co-director of Stanford's new Institute on Race. Lowery’s research examines the reality that others shape our selves and we shape theirs, exploring issues ranging from the nature of racial and gender identities to an understanding of how others help us generate meaning in life. His latest book is Selfless: The Social Creation of “You” (Harper 2023), and he hosts a podcast Know What You See.

Kwame Anthony Appiah teaches philosophy at New York University in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Law School. He has written widely in the philosophy of mind and language, ethics and political philosophy, and the philosophy of art, of culture, and of the social sciences; as well as in literary studies, where he focuses on African and African-American literature and literary theory. His publications include Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity (Harvard, 2014) and The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity (Norton, 2018). 

Jennifer Hochschild is H. L. Jayne Professor of Government, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. She was Chair of Harvard’s Government Department, 2016-2019, and President of the American Political Science Association, 2016-2017. Her research addresses race/class intersectionality in American public policy, and the politics and policies around genomic science in the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany. Books include Genomic Politics (Oxford U. Press, 2021) and Do Facts Matter: Information and Misinformation in American Politics (co-authored, U. of Oklahoma Press, 2015). 

 This event will be recorded and a photographer present to document the event. The video recording will be available within two weeks of the event. By RSVPing, you consent for your image to be used for Center-related promotions and platforms. If you have any questions, please contact

If you require disability-related accommodation, please contact  as soon as possible or at least 7 business days in advance of the event.