Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is also the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education, and the former Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago. Cohen is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics(University of Chicago Press, 1999). She is co-editor of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader(NYU Press, 1997) with Kathleen Jones and Joan Tronto. She also has a new book entitled Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics(Oxford University Press). Her articles have been published in numerous journals and edited volumes, including the American Political Science Review, NOMOS, GLQ, Social Text, and the DuBois Review.
Cohen is the recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator’s Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Fellowship; and two major research grants from the Ford Foundation for her work as principal investigator of the Black Youth Project;and the Mobilization, Change and Political and Civic Engagement Project. Cohen serves on a number of national and local advisory boards, and is the co-editor with Frederick Harris of a book series at Oxford University Press entitled “Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities.”
In addition to her academic work, Cohen has always been politically active. She was a founding board member and former co-chair of the board of the Audre Lorde Project in NY. She was also on the board of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, as well as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at CUNY. Cohen was a founding member of Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM!) and one of the core organizers of two international conferences “Black Nations / Queer Nations?”, and “Race, Sex, Power.” Cohen has also served as an active member in numerous organizations such as the Black Radical Congress, African American Women in Defense of Ourselves, and Ella’s Daughters. Currently, Cohen serves as a Board Member of the Arcus Foundation, and a Governing Board member of the University of Chicago’s four charter schools. She is also the founder of a website devoted to black youth: www.blackyouthproject.com.
Charlene A. Carruthers
Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer, with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist, and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice, and civil rights campaigns nationwide. She has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women's Media Center, ColorOfChange.org, and National People's Action; as well as being a member of a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine in 2015 to build solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements. Carruthers is the winner of the "New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award" and has served as a featured speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Northwestern University, and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University. Carruthers also received a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements. Her inspirations include a range of Black women, including Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, and Barbara Ransby. In her free time, Carruthers loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food.
Kerwin Charles is the Edwin and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at Chicago Harris, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on a range of subjects in the broad area of applied microeconomics. His work has examined such questions as: how mandated minimum marriage ages affects young people's marriage and migration behavior; the effect of racial composition of neighborhoods on the social connections people make; the causes for the dramatic convergence in completed schooling between recent generations of American men and women; differences in visible consumption across racial and ethnic groups; the effect of retirement on subjective well-being; the propagation of wealth across generations within a family; and many dimensions of the effect of health shocks, including on family stability and labor supply. Recent work has studied the degree to which prejudice can account for wages and employment differences by race and gender. In ongoing work, he is studying the connection between economic outcomes, and various aspects of voting behavior.
Lisa Yun Lee
Lisa Yun Lee is the Director of the School of Art & Art History, a visiting curator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and a member of The Art History, Museum and Exhibition Studies, and Gender and Women's Studies faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Lee is also the co-founder of The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for dialogue and dissent, and for reinvigorating civil society. She has published a book on Frankfurt School philosopher Theodor Adorno, titled “Dialectics of the Body: Corporeality in the Philosophy of Theodor Adorno (Routledge, 2004)”; and researches and writes about museums and diversity, cultural and environmental sustainability, and spaces for fostering radically democratic practices. Lee received her BA in Religion from Bryn Mawr College, and a PhD in German Studies from Duke University. She is the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC, and she serves on the national boards of the American Alliance of Museums, Imagining America: Artists & Scholars in Public Life, the Ms. Magazine Advisory Board, and the boards of Rebuild Foundation, the National Public Housing Museum, Young Chicago Authors, 3Arts, and the International Contemporary Ensemble.
Mabel O. Wilson
Professor Mabel O. Wilson teaches architectural design and history/theory courses at Columbia University’s GSAPP. She is also appointed as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), and co-directs Global Africa Lab (GAL). In 2011 she was honored as a United States Artists Ford Fellow in architecture and design. She has authored Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (University of California Press 2012), runner-up for John Hope Franklin Prize for the best American Studies publication in 2012; and Begin with the Past: The Building of National African American Museum of History and Culture published by Smithsonian books in 2016. She is currently the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow (2015-2016) at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in Visual Art where she is developing the manuscript for Building Race and Nation: How Slavery Influenced the Civic Architecture of Antebellum America.