Image credits: WANGECHI MUTU Eleven secrets, 2015 Collage on vinyl 30 1/2 x 36 1/2 inches (77.5 x 92.7 cm) Copyright Wangechi Mutu Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photo: David Regen

St. Paul, Minn. – Macalester College presents its 25th annual International Roundtable with the theme, “Beyond Blood and Skin: The Global Production and Consequences of Race and Racisms,” Thursday – Saturday, October 11 – 13, in varying campus locations and times, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn. Free and open to the public.  For more information, call 651-696-6655 or email

Every October since 1994, Macalester’s International Roundtable has brought diverse communities together to dialogue around a single theme. It’s a community-wide and globally-focused forum exploring critical issues from a variety of perspectives. Macalester invites speakers, academics, practitioners, community members and performers to offer their work and experiences to galvanize student engagement and prompt thinking across local, national, and global levels through plenary sessions, student-led workshops, and campus-wide activities. This year, the theme is “Beyond Blood and Skin: The Global Production and Consequences of Race and Racisms.”

Public discourse about the impacts of racism have gained momentum in recent years. Yet, race as a concept remains widely misunderstood. Racial discourse continues to be dominated by physiological signifiers such as skin color and other expressions of genetic heritage. Race is conflated with ethnicity, culture, and language. At the same time, the material and affective consequences of racism, usually negative, are borne by those at the bottom of racial hierarchies organized within and across societies.

If we are to eliminate the malignant grip of racism on the human condition and create any real potential for racial justice, we must explore the mechanisms through which race is constructed and maintained within and across social institutions, including higher education itself.

The 2018 International Roundtable will:

  • spur our campus and surrounding communities to move beyond blood and skin, beyond diversity and representation, and beyond how it feels to be raced;
  • prompt us to pinpoint the historical sources of race and to understand how overlapping fields have maintained its mythology for the accumulation of material, political, and social capital for a segment of the population; and
  • encourage us to ask different questions in the hope of taking a reparative path to destroy racial ideologies.

This year, the three plenary speakers are:

Dorothy Roberts, who will speak at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 11: Fatal Invention: Racism and The New Racial Science.
Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. She is also the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics. Roberts is the author of award-winning books, as well as co-editor of six books on constitutional law and gender.

Rick Kittles, who will speak at 10:15 a.m., Friday, October 12: Race, Skin Color and Genetic Ancestry: Implications for Biomedical Research on Health Disparities.
Kittles is professor and founding director of the Division of Health Equities within the Department of Population Sciences and Associate Director of Health Equities in the Comprehensive Cancer Center at City of Hope Hospital in California. His research has focused on understanding the complex issues surrounding race, genetic ancestry and health disparities. He has been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers and how genetic ancestry can be quantified and utilized in genomic studies on disease risk and outcomes. Kittles co-founded African Ancestry, Inc., a private company that provides DNA testing services for tracing African genetic lineages to genealogists and the general public around the world.

Premesh Lalu, who will speak at 2:20 p.m., Friday, October 12:
The Techne of Trickery: Race, Memory and Machines.
Lalu is Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, a national flagship project of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation in South Africa. Professor Lalu has published widely in academic journals on South African history, and more broadly, on the reconstitution of the study of the Humanities in Africa. Lalu is a regular contributor to public debate on higher education and the future of the humanities in local and international newspapers. His current research on the theme of a post-apartheid practice of freedom is focused on memory, technology and the human condition.

The Co-Chairs for the 2018 International Roundtable are:
Devavani Chatterjea, Biology; Brian Lozenski, Educational Studies; Donna Maeda, Institute for Global Citizenship and American Studies; and Dianna Shandy, Institute for Global Citizenship and Anthropology.

Over 20 Macalester students are leading 9 sessions at the roundtable, and each session is guided by faculty and/or staff mentors who are contributing their own rich and diverse expertise to the roundtable. Sponsored by the Macalester Institute for Global Citizenship.

Previous Roundtable themes:

• 1994 The International Community and the Emerging World (Dis) Order
• 1995 Literature, the Creative Imagination, and Globalization
• 1996 The Divided Self: Ethnicity, Identity, and Globalization
• 1997 Nature, People, and Globalization
• 1998 Globalization and Economic Space
• 1999 Contending Gods: Religion and the Global Moment
• 2000 International Feminisms: Divergent Perspectives
• 2001 The Body: Meditations on Global Health
• 2002 Prometheus’s Bequest: Technology and Change
• 2003 Complex Contradictions: African, American, and Middle Eastern Perspectives
• 2004 America and Global Power: Empire or . . . ?
• 2005 Quixotic Offspring: The Global Legacy of Don Quixote
• 2006 The United Nations Organization (UNO): What Future?
• 2007 The Musical Imagination in the Epoch of Globalization
• 2008 Whither Development? The Struggle for Livelihood in the Time of Globalization
• 2009 Global Environment: The Eleventh Hour?
• 2010 My Sister’s and Brother’s Keeper? Human Rights in the Era of Globalization
• 2011 Children of the World: The Dialectic of Promise and Vulnerability
• 2012 Feeding the World: Globalization, Food, and Agriculture in the 21st Century
• 2013 Global Health: Promoting Equity Within and Across Borders
• 2014 Migration
• 2015 Education in a Globalized World: Equity, Diversity and Civic Participation
• 2016 Sustainable Cities: Sharing Habitat, Building Resiliency
• 2017 Empathy and Its Discontents
• 2018 Beyond Blood and Skin: The Global Production and Consequences of Race and Racisms

Learn more about Macalester College at

September 14 2018

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