How Do We Get There?: Accelerating Diversity in Slow to Change Humanities Fields


The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to present “How Do We Get There?: Accelerating Diversity in Slow to Change Humanities Fields,” on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 4-5:30 PM EST

This virtual roundtable discussion will offer a candid discourse exploring the history, current state, and solutions addressing humanities fields that remain largely homogeneous. Sharing their experiences and perspectives in this discussion will be:

  • Anita L. Allen, Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Philip Ewell, Associate Professor of music theory, Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Cord Whitaker, Associate Professor of English, Wellesley College

The discussion will be moderated by Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians, which has been actively addressing ways to advance diversity in its field. 

This event is presented as part of the ACLS Humanistic Knowledge in the 21st Century public event series.

Register for this virtual event

Anita AllenAnita L. Allen is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, an expert on privacy law, the philosophy of privacy, bioethics, and contemporary values, and recognized for scholarship about legal philosophy, women's rights, and race relations. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. She was the first African American woman to hold both a PhD in philosophy and a law degree, and the first to be elected President of The American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division. 

Philip EwellPhilip Ewell is an associate professor of music theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is also Director of Graduate Studies in the Music Department. He was named the “Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow” of the American Council of Learned Societies for 2020–2021 for his work in critical-race studies in music. The grant is allowing him to work on a monograph that examines race, gender, and other identities in American music theory; this monograph is under contract at the University of Michigan Press Music and Social Justice series. He serves as “Virtual Scholar in Residence” at the University of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music for 2020–2021, also based on this race scholarship in the music academy. 

Cord J. Whitaker is an assistant professor at Wellesley College where he    writes, researches, and teaches on medieval English literature and the history of race. His book Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking (University of Pennsylvania Press) argues that the late medieval Christian reception of classical rhetoric informs and directs the process by which blackness and whiteness become metaphors for sin and purity in English writing. He contends that these metaphors are central to the development of race and racism. 

Pauline SaligaPauline Saliga, Executive Director of the Society of Architectural Historians. Under her leadership, SAH has undertaken the SAH Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability, and Sustainability (IDEAS) Initiative that supports diverse voices for discussion, debate, publication, programming, and sharing of cutting-edge scholarship about underrepresented groups and the history of the built environment.