2021 Princeton University Constitution Day Lecture

Tue, Sep 14, 2021, 4:30 pm
Location: 
via Zoom webinar and live stream
Speaker(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Program in American Studies
Office of the Provost

What Kind of Republic? A Discussion on Democracy and the Constitution Today

Professor of African American Studies Ruha Benjamin discusses “In Tech We Trust? Reconstituting the Relationship Between our Digital and Political Worlds.” Amaney Jamal, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics, and professor of politics and international affairs, discusses “Islamophobia, Racial Justice and the Limits of Constitutional Protections.” Professor of History Kevin Kruse discusses voting rights and voter suppression, and the rise and fall of the Voting Rights Act.

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is professor of African American studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power.

Benjamin earned a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from Spelman College, M.A and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics and Harvard University’s Program on Science, Technology and Society. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation 2020 Freedom Scholar Award, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

Amaney Jamal

Amaney A. Jamal is the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics at Princeton University, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and professor of politics and international affairs. Jamal also directs the Workshop on Arab Political Development and the Bobst-American University of Beirut Collaborative Initiative.

Her book Barriers to Democracy (2007), which explores the role of civic associations in promoting democratic effects in the Arab world, won the 2008 American Political Science Best Book Award in the Comparative Democratization section. Her other books include Of Empires and Citizens and her co-edited volume Arab Americans Before and After 9/11. Her article “Does Islam Play a Role in anti-Immigrant Sentiment: An Experimental Approach” in Social Science Research 2015 won the 2016 Louis Wirth Best Article Award: American Sociological Association, International Migration Section.

Jamal is the co-principal of the Arab Barometer Project, awarded the Lijphart/Przeworski/Verba Dataset Award 2010 by the Comparative Politics Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for the best dataset in comparative politics.

In 2006, Jamal was named a Carnegie Scholar. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (2003). Her areas of specialization are the Middle East and North Africa, mass and political behavior, political development and democratization, inequality and economic segregation, Muslim immigration (United States and Europe), gender, race, religion, and class.

Kevin Kruse

Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton University. He specializes in the political, social, and urban/suburban history of 20th-century America, with a particular interest in conflicts over race, rights and religion and the making of modern conservatism.

Kruse is currently conducting research for his new book, The Division: John Doar, the Justice Department, and the Civil Rights Movement (contracted to Basic Books). Through the previously untapped papers of Doar — a vital actor in crisis moments in the civil rights movement, who helped to draft the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — Kruse hopes to provide new insights into these civil rights milestones as well as a new understanding of the ways in which the federal government worked (and didn’t work) during the racial revolution unfolding across the South.

After The Division, Kruse will turn his attention to Law and Order: The Politics of Crime and Culture in New York City (contracted to Basic Books), exploring the origins and evolution of a powerful force in contemporary American politics.

Kruse is co-author, with Julian Zelizer, of Fault Lines: A History of the United States since 1974 (W.W. Norton, January 2019), and author of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books, April 2015) and of White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton University Press, 2005), which won prizes including the 2007 Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best first book in the field of Southern history, 2005-06, and the 2007 Best Book Award in Urban Politics from the American Political Science Association.

A Nashville native and an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kruse went on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2000.

Aisha Beliso De-Jesús

Professor of American Studies Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, director of the Princeton University programs in American studies, Latino studies and Asian American studies, is a cultural and social anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research with Santería practitioners in Cuba and the United States, and police officers and communities of color affected by police violence in the United States.

Her first book, Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion (Columbia University Press, 2015), won the 2016 Albert J. Raboteau Award for the Best Book in Africana Religions. It details the transnational experience of Santería, in which racialized and gendered spirits, deities, priests, and religious travelers remake local, national, and political boundaries and actively reconfigure notions of technology and transnationalism. She is completing a second monograph that examines the policing of African diaspora religions in the United States. This work seeks to understand how race and religion impact policing practices through African diaspora religions such as Afro-Cuban Santería and Haitian Vodou. It is situated at the intersections of the anthropology of police, Africana studies, Latinx studies, and religious studies to re-think core issues around race, democracy, and religion.

Beliso-De Jesús is the co-founder and co-director of the Center on Transnational Policing (CTP) at Princeton University, and editor-in-chief of Transforming Anthropology, the flagship journal for the Association of Black Anthropologists. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, where she is a 2021-22 fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.