Civil rights theorist Ian Haney Lopez

Civil rights theorist Ian Haney Lopez to speak at SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has partnered with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to bring celebrated law professor and civil rights theorist Ian Haney Lopez to the SOU campus for a public lecture on creating a free and equal multi-racial democracy.

Haney Lopez’s lecture, “Building a Broader ‘We’: Fusing Race and Class,” is part of the SOU Campus Theme lecture series, which is focusing this year on “identity.” The talk will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, in the Rogue River Room of SOU’s Stevenson Union.

The lecture centers on the question of how we can make the transition from a multi-racial population to a multi-racial democracy – and one that is “genuinely racially egalitarian.” Haney Lopez, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will challenge audience members to examine their understanding of racism, and will discuss a model of racism that blends race and class to show the value of embracing a multi-racial society.

SOU’s Campus Theme lecture series is meant to create opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in intellectually stimulating conversations. Each theme in the annual series – which began in the 2009-10 academic year – focuses on a specific concept and addresses big questions, enables deep understanding and broadens the intellectual horizons of participants.

The collaboration between SOU’s Office of EDI and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the result of ongoing conversations about how the two organizations can build community and serve as partners in the work of equity. Anyania Muse – OSF’s Interim Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of IDEA People, Culture & Operations – was familiar with Haney Lopez, and proposed the community lecture partnership.

Haney Lopez teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law. His research centers around class, race and politics, and the ways in which class and race are often leveraged for gain – dividing society in ways that benefit the whole the least. He is considered one of the nation’s leading thinkers on how racism has evolved since the civil rights era.

He authored the 2014 book, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class,” which examines how politicians exploit racism to ultimately support rule by the rich; and the 2019 book, “Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America,about how the manipulation of coded racism evolved during the Trump era. He also wrote the books “White by Law and “Racism on Trial.

Haney Lopez holds an endowed chair as the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at UC-Berkeley, and has been a visiting law professor at Yale, New York University and Harvard. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Washington University, a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard.