ICSR Spring Speaker Series
Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 4-5.30pm, Faculty House
Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, an associate professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at CWRU, completed her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania under the stewardship of Dr. Mary Frances Berry. Dr. Rhonda, as many call her, is the founding director of CWRU’s Social Justice Institute; the founder and director of CWRU’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies; and the author of the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004). In April 2009, she was awarded CWRU’s inaugural Inclusion and Diversity Achievement Award.
Williams has worked to broker understanding of issues regarding marginalization, inequalities, and activism. She has delivered community presentations to the Congressional Emerson Hunger Fellows on the history of institutional racism and given numerous lectures, including at the Smithsonian Institution and the Woodrow Wilson Center in D.C.
As an educator and scholar-activist, Dr. Rhonda is committed to critically assessing and exposing the entrenched systems of inequality and the enactment of social justice. In articulating her teaching philosophy for her “City As Classroom” – which is taught off campus and requires students to engage in social activism – Dr. Rhonda says the following: “It is my belief that the practice of history should be part of a broader liberation project—one that arms students and scholars with the necessary analytical tools and information to combat social, cultural, and political myths and to address historical and contemporary issues.” Currently, the Social Justice Institute is engaged in its inaugural community-based collaborative initiative, the “Voicing and Action Project,” which is focused on documenting the life narratives of East Clevelanders to help identify and advance community priorities through the power of storytelling, conversation, voice and visioning, and active community engagement.
Dr. Rhonda is also an active scholar. She is the author of numerous articles including “The Pursuit of Audacious Power: Rebel Reformers and Neighborhood Politics in Baltimore, 1966-1968,” in Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level, and “‘To Challenge the Status Quo by Any Means’: Community Action and Representational Politics in 1960s Baltimore,” in The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History. She is the co-editor of Women, Transnationalism, and Human Rights, a Special Issue of the Radical History Review (2008) and Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement (2002). Currently, she is working on a book titled Concrete Demands on black power in the 20th century (Routledge University Press), and is co-editor of the Justice, Power, and Politics series with University of North Carolina Press.
Find out more about Dr. Williams by visiting the Case Western Reserve University website.