Race and Racism: A Transatlantic Dialogue

A series of virtual conversations, jointly hosted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis, United States, and the City of Stuttgart, Germany


16 October 2020
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CST in St. Louis/18:00h - 19:30h (MEZ/CET) in Stuttgart

Implicit Bias, Systemic Racism, and American Schools

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Shea Kerkhoff, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Educator Preparation and Leadership

Doris Villareal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Educator Preparation and Leadership

In this session we will discuss the ways racism has infiltrated the U.S. school system. The talk will introduce implicit bias and how teachers may unconsciously reproduce racial hierarchies in classrooms. We will also discuss how structures and policies systemically hold racism in place as the status quo in U.S. schools. We will end by exploring ways to dismantle racism and rebuild a racially just school system.

Dr. Kerkhoff is an Assistant Professor of secondary education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education. She holds a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Kerkhoff utilizes mixed methods to investigate critical, digital, and global literacies. Her research centers on integrating inquiry-based global learning with adolescent literacy instruction. She also serves as Going Global, Inc.'s Regional Director- Africa and previously served as 4 the World's Education Director. In this capacity, the International Literacy Association awarded her the Constance McCullough grant to conduct inquiry-based digital literacy professional development and research with teachers in Kitale, Kenya. Dr. Kerkhoff is passionate about global education at home and abroad. In 2018 she was named a Longview Foundation Global Teacher Educator fellow. She is affiliated faculty with the Missouri Language and Literacies Center.

Dr. Villarreal earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She also participated in the Fulbright-Hayes Group Project Abroad in Tanzania, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and coordinated by the African Studies Institute at the University of Georgia. She has 13 years of bilingual elementary classroom teaching experience in urban public schools. Her experiences as a bilingual elementary teacher in Texas have led to her interests in the improvement and support of educational programs that serve students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her research interests include hybrid language practices in linguistically and culturally diverse teaching contexts with a focus on Latinx children as well as literacy teacher education.


10 November 2020
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CST in St. Louis/18:00h - 19:30h (MEZ/CET) in Stuttgart

Racial and Spatial Injustice in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area

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Todd Swanstrom, Ph.D.
E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor in Community Collaboration and Public Policy

In a truly just metropolis, where you grew up would not influence your life chances. Racial and economic segregation in the St. Louis metropolitan area means that many children grow up in neighborhoods that give them little chance of succeeding. The pattern of concentrated poverty and racial isolation in the city and inner-ring suburbs is not simply the result of individual choices; it is the result of a tangle of public policies and private practices. If we want to create a more just (and prosperous) metropolitan area, we need new policies and practices that address spatial and institutional inequalities. 

As Des Lee Professor of Community Collaboration and Public Policy Administration at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Todd Swanstrom specializes in urban politics and public policy. He has an MA from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. from Princeton. Prior to joining UMSL, Todd taught at Saint Louis University and the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany (SUNY). He also worked as a neighborhood planner in Cleveland and as the Director of Strategic Planning for the City of Albany, NY. Currently, Todd’s research focuses on neighborhood change and the challenges of concentrated poverty and fragmented governance in inner-ring suburbs. Todd used the resources of his endowed professorship to support the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, which is working to build great neighborhoods throughout the St. Louis region. Currently, he is concentrating the resources of his endowment on supporting UMSL’s Anchor Mission to lift up the communities around the campus.


4 December 2020
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CST in St. Louis/18:00h - 19:30h (MEZ/CET) in Stuttgart

The Important Role the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion holds at an American University - More Relevant than Ever

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Tanisha Stevens, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In this session, we will discuss the role of an equity and diversity office and its staff at institutions in the United States, as well as explore related challenges. 

Dr. Tanisha Stevens serves as the first vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a masters in Counseling from Saint Louis University and her doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from UMSL. 

Dr. Stevens works to establish  and strengthen collaborative partnerships across the institution to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Under her leadership, Dr. Stevens coordinated the campus’ participation and engagement in the Equity Institute sponsored by USC Race and Equity Center. She is committed to creating an inclusive environment here at UMSL.


Past events: 

8 October 2020
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. CST in St. Louis/18:00h - 19:30h (MEZ/CET) in Stuttgart

An Existential Perspective of Black American Life in the Trumpian Dystopia

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Matthew J. Taylor, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, and Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology

The human condition is fraught with experiences and psychological commotion that create various degrees of unease. Many of these scenarios involve introspective, self-reflective endeavors rooted in the basic existential concerns inherent to the task of being human (e.g., death, isolation, identity, freedom, and meaning). It goes without saying that an “invisible” provocateur to these processes is the Zeitgeist. Black America has long known what type of person Donald Trump was (and is); long before his formal arrival on the American political scene in 2015. The announcement of his candidacy, and subsequent victory, brought American racism and nationalism squarely back into the light and placed it, yet again, at the forefront of the national landscape after many decades in the shadows. This lecture will explore the psychological impact of the Trump Era on the lives of Black Americans using an existential framework.

Dr. Matthew Taylor is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Taylor's research interests fall under the broad category of minority mental health and multicultural psychology, with one specific emphasis on multiracial identity development, including the relationship between racial socialization experiences of multiracial individuals and racial and cultural identity construction,the negotiation between family-based socialization messages and the sociohistorical constructions of race and associated racial messages and experiences (e.g., racism), and the development of existential-phenomenological therapy constructs for multiracial individuals.


This series is sponsored by
St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities, Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum (DAZ) Stuttgart, The City of Stuttgart, The German Culture Center, and UMSL Global, University of Missouri-St. Louis

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