Arizona State University: What Are the Causes of Racial Disparities in Contemporary America?

Murdock Hall, Arizona State University

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership: “What Are the Causes of Racial Disparities in Contemporary America?”


The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, a JMC partner program, will be hosting Glenn Loury and Khalil Gibran Muhammad for the first lecture in its new series, “Can We Talk Honestly About Race?”:

Is it possible to have honest conversations about race today? Is free speech and the open exchange of ideas possible amidst the tensions surrounding racial issues on university campuses and in American society at large? This program proposes to bring to campus academics and public intellectuals to engage in frank discussions about the issues of race in America today The goal of this program is to have an honest conversation about race that provides the audience with a range of views on crucial issues, including perspectives that may not have been included in other events or programs on campus.

In this lecture, Dr. Glenn Loury will introduce a theory of persistent social and economic disparities between racial groups meant to apply to the historical circumstances of the United States. The central argument rests on a distinction between racial bias in the treatment of persons in their individual economic transactions, and racial bias in the social relations among persons in their everyday lives. This perspective points toward a radically different program of policy interventions needed to reduce racial disparities — shifting the focus from one of fighting against discrimination to one of promoting the human development of the disadvantaged. Dr. Khalil Gibran Mohammad responds.

Monday, November 15, 2021 • 5:00 PM
Turquoise Room, Memorial Union 220 • Arizona State University

Free and open to the public.

Click here to learn more and register to attend >>

Click here to watch the livestream on YouTube >>



Glenn Loury, Brown UniversityGlenn Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University. He holds a BA in Mathematics (Northwestern) and a PhD in Economics (M.I.T). As an economic theorist he has published widely and lectured throughout the world on his research. He is also among America’s leading critics writing on racial inequality. He has been elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economics Association, as a Member of the American Philosophical Society and of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, and as a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Learn more about Glenn Loury >>



Khalil Gibran Muhammad is the Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. Professor Muhammad’s scholarship examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. history. He is co-editor of “Constructing the Carceral State,” a special issue of the Journal of American History (June 2015), and a contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study, “The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, as well as the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard), which won the 2011 John Hope Franklin Best Book award in American Studies.

Learn more about Khalil Gibran Muhammad >>



The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University seeks to introduce a new level of debate over the large questions of life that always arise. These are questions of value: What is the best form of government? The most efficient and just economy? The good life for an individual? And also basic questions of fact and concept: Is science the only kind of knowledge? Does history have a direction and purpose? Is moral choice a fact or delusion? These questions do not have easy answers, and indeed the questions have always been clearer than the answers. As a learning community of faculty and students, the school approaches them in two ways. One way is to look beyond the time and borders of our present society to the great thinkers who have contended for the high status of teachers of humanity, such as Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. The other way of studying the fundamental questions is to look within to American leaders, both intellectual and political, who have inspired us.

Learn more about the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership >>



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