2024 MAYS LECTURER
Ruha Benjamin is the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab and author of the award-winning book “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code,” among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Freedom Scholar Award and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. Her most recent book, “Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want,” winner of the 2023 Stowe Prize, was born out of the twin plagues of COVID-19 and police violence, and it offers a practical and principled approach to transforming our communities and helping us build a more just and joyful world. Benjamin’s forthcoming book, “Imagination: A Manifesto,” will be released in February 2024.
Presentation: “Beyond Buzzwords: Innovation, Inequality and Imagination in the 21st Century”
From precision medicine to predictive algorithms, science and technology seek to address a variety of human problems by producing data and tools to help us understand our world and ourselves. But without careful consideration of the social dimensions of innovation, there’s a risk reinforcing longstanding forms of inequality and injustice, and even producing new forms of discrimination that are hidden behind a veneer of technological neutrality. In this presentation, Benjamin will examine a range of contemporary issues at the nexus of data and democracy – from national DNA databases across the globe to online targeted advertisements on computer screens – to think together about the social values embedded in these platforms and systems. She aims to expand the collective imagination around what counts as relevant and meaningful to scholarship and public debate on Big Data so that a greater array of scholars and publics contribute to the design of the world we inhabit.
The Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence will host a fireside chat for graduate students with Mays Lecturer Ruha Benjamin on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. in a virtual format.
Joyce King, the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair of Teaching, Learning and Leadership, and graduate student Lynda Lee Osborne will moderate a discussion between Dr. Benjamin and graduate students.
Registration for this event has now closed.
ABOUT THE MAYS LECTURE SERIES
In the spring of 1988, the Benjamin E. Mays Chair of Urban Educational Leadership was approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and established in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University.
Its goal was and continues to be the improvement of the quality of educational institutions in urban areas of the country, with special emphasis on the problems faced by the leadership of large city school districts.
The founding holder of the Chair, Dr. Alonzo A. Crim, organization and sponsorship of the annual Benjamin E. Mays Memorial Lecture Series. It began in 1989 with Dr. Charles V. Willie, a social scholar at Harvard University, and has continued to past year’s lecturer, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond.
By continuing to bring nationally prominent educators to Atlanta, each symposium, conference and lecture encourages the discussion of issues facing urban educational leaders.
This program honors the memory of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and promotes his philosophy of educational excellence for those typically least served by society.
Joyce E. King holds the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair of Teaching, Learning and Leadership at George State University. She is a professor of Educational Policy Studies and is an affiliated faculty member in the Department of African-American Studies.
Her research and scholarship discuss how mainstream American education produces dysconsciousness that resists a critically transformative understanding of race and racialized inequity. Education kindergarten through grade 16 perpetuates a curriculum that alienates peoples of color from seeing themselves as collaborative levels of knowledge and distorts White people’s humanity, as well.
Dr. King’s research notes that kindergarten through 12th-grade textbooks, lesson plans and teacher preparation routinely start the history of Black people in slavery, not in Africa, and teach that Egypt is located in the Middle East or even Asia rather than in Africa!
African American learners are taught they have contributed nothing to the production of knowledge, and that abandonment of all Black cultural identity is key to any success in school.
Her scholarship addresses a transformative role for culture in effective teaching and teacher preparation, Black Studies epistemology and curriculum theorizing, community-mediated research and dysconscious racism, a term she coined. Her scholarship emphasizes cultural well-being as a necessary goal in all successful education, including that of Whites who are miseducated, as well, by a competitive educational system that feeds them racially-constructed knowledge as color-blind education.
Her publications can be found in the Harvard Educational Review, The Journal of Negro Education, The Journal of Black Studies, Womanist Theory and Research, numerous book chapters as well as six books: Teaching Diverse Populations; Black Mothers to Sons: Juxtaposing African American Literature with Social Praxis; Preparing Teachers for Diversity and Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda for the New Century; Remembering History in Student and Teacher Learning: An African-centered Culturally Informed Praxis; and Dysconscious Racism, Afrocentric Praxis and Education for Human Freedom—Through the Years I Keep on Toiling—The Selected Works of Joyce E. King.
Previously, Dr. King has also served as Provost and Professor of Education at Spelman College, Associate Provost at Medgar Evers College in New York (CUNY), Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Diversity Programs at the University of New Orleans; Director of Teacher Education at Santa Clara University, and Head of the Department of Ethnic Studies, Mills College. Dr. King has international experience teaching, lecturing and providing professional development in Brazil (using Portuguese translations of her publications), Canada, China, England, Jamaica, New Zealand, Mali, Kenya, and Senegal. A recipient of the W.K. Kellogg Fellowship and the American Council on Education Fellowship, she also served on the California State Board of Education Curriculum Commission.
She holds the Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education and a B.A. Degree (with Honors), both from Stanford University, and a Certificate in Educational Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. King is the immediate past-President of the American Educational Research Association (2014-2015).
List of Guest Lecturers for The Benjamin E. Mays Memorial Lecture Series — Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence
1989, Charles Willie, Social Scholar, Harvard University
1990, Samuel Cook, President, Dilliard University
1991, Samuel Proctor, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
1992, Julius S. Scott, President, Paine College
1993, Lerone Bennett Jr., Executive Editor, Ebony Magazine
1994, Maynard H. Jackson, Mayor Emeritus of Atlanta
1995, Lisa Delpit, Benjamin Mays Chair for Urban Educational Leadership, Georgia State University
1996, Barbara Sizemore, Dean, College of Education, DePaul University
1997, Asa G. Hilliard, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education, Georgia State University
1998, Robert Franklin, President, Interdenominational Theological Center
1999, Jackie Jordan-Irvine, Charles Chandler, Professor of Urban Education, Emory University
2000, Vincent Harding, Professor Illif College
2001, Johnetta Cole, President, Spelman College
2002, Beverly Tatum, President, Spelman College
2003, Gloria Ladson Billings, Professor, University of Wisconsin
2004, Joyce King, Benjamin Mays Chair for Urban Education, Georgia State University
2005, Beverly Hall, Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools
2006, Ronald Ferguson, Economist, Harvard University
2007, Mark Alexander, Endocrinologist, Kaiser Permanente
2008, Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund
2009, Robert Moses, Founder of the Algebra Project
2010, Ela Gandhi, Durban University of Technology
2011, Vanessa Siddle Walker, Emory University
2012, Adelaide Sanford, Former Vice-Chancellor New York State Board of Regents
2013, Brian Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative
2014, Jeannie Oakes, Professor Emerita, UCLA, AERA President-Elect
2015, Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst
2017, Noma LeMoine, Chief Editorial Officer, LeMoine and Associates Educational Consulting
2018, Leslie T. Fenwick, Professor Emerita, Howard University
2019, Walter C. Farrell, Jr., University of Colorado-Boulder
2020, Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute
2021, Molefi Kete Asante, Professor and Chair, Temple University’s Department of African American Studies
2022, William F. Tate, President, Louisiana State University
2023, Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Spencer Foundation
PREVIOUS MAYS LECTURES
8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.
College of Education & Human Development
P.O. Box 3976
Atlanta, GA 30302-3976