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Author Isabel Wilkerson to Join Douglass College’s “Dean’s Series: Critical Conversations on Black History”

On April 19, 2021, award-winning author Isabel Wilkerson will join “The Dean's Series: Critical Conversations on Black History” presented via Zoom by Douglass College at Rutgers–New Brunswick. This talk is part of Wilkerson’s larger involvement at the University as the 2021 Blanche, Edith, and Irving Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies.

Wilkerson is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (2010) and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020). She is the first Black American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Wilkerson’s talk will be entitled “Reflections on Caste.”  In Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

“The Dean’s Series: Critical Conversations on Black History” is a multi-part series that seeks to engage the campus community in discussions about the state of today’s America by examining Black history. Dean Jacquelyn Litt, dean of Douglass College, is proud to host the year-long series alongside The Office of Chancellor Christopher Molloy, which serves as an honorary co-sponsor. 

Thus far, the series has featured President Jonathan Holloway, president of Rutgers University; Dr. Keisha N. Blain, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh; and Dr. Barbara Ransby, professor of history, Black studies, and gender and women's studies at University of Illinois, Chicago. 

“The incredible speakers at the Dean’s Series have put students, staff, faculty, and alumni from across the University in dialogue with one another about some of our nation’s most pertinent issues,” said Jacquelyn Litt, dean of Douglass College. “Isabel Wilkerson is one of the most innovative voices in the country, and we are honored to have her lead a conversation this spring.”  

The Blanche, Edith, and Irving Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies, the first of its kind in the nation, was created to bring outstanding scholars and practitioners in women's studies to campus to conduct their research and interact with students. As the Chair, Wilkerson will enrich the education of students enrolled in Douglass, the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Institute for Women’s Leadership Consortium.

For more information about “The Dean’s Series: Critical Conversations on Black History,” please visit

Photo Credit: Joe Henson