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The 2022 E. Maynard Adams Symposium for the Humanities

April 8, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


To view recordings of the 2022 Adams Symposium, click the following links:

Friday Night Keynote Saturday Panel Discussion

The fifth annual symposium in honor of distinguished UNC philosopher Maynard Adams (1919–2003) will feature keynote speaker Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African & African American Studies and of Philosophy at Harvard University. Professor Shelby explores how racism, racial identities, and racial politics affect American society. His work includes influential books such as Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform (2016) and the co-edited collection, To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2018). This event was originally scheduled for 2020, but was canceled due to COVID-19.

Professor Shelby will examine how class differences among Black Americans affect political solidarity. His work provides a framework for analyzing conflicting views about the relation between a race-based identity politics and a class-based, multiracial labor movement. Do the interests of the black professional-managerial class diverge from or converge with the political and social needs of the Black working class?  Are race and class inextricably linked or do they create different political and social identities? Drawing on insights from thinkers such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cornel West, Professor Shelby will explore these questions in a keynote lecture, “Social Class Differences and the Search for Political Solidarity Among Black Americans” at The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History on Friday, April 8, 5:30 to 8:00 pm. A public reception will follow his talk. There is no advanced registration for the in-person talk at the Stone Center – it is first come, first served. For those who wish to view Professor Shelby’s lecture virtually, register here.

The Symposium continues virtually on Saturday, April 9 from 10:00am to 12:15pm with responses to Dr. Shelby’s talk from UNC Faculty and PhD Candidates. The panel features:

  • Max Owre, Executive Director, Carolina Public Humanities and Teaching Assistant Professor of History
  • Jill Adams, School of Law, Southern Illinois University
  • Z Quanbeck, Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities and PhD, Candidate in Philosophy                 
  • Joanna Sierks Smith, Associate Director for State Outreach and Strategic Partnerships, Carolina Public Humanities
  • Sahar Heydari Fard, Teaching Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Core Faculty Member of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program
  • Alexandra Odom, Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities and PhD Candidate in History    
  • Erika K. Wilson, Professor of Law, Wade Edwards Distinguished Scholar, and Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair in Public Policy
  • Lauren Jarvis, Assistant Professor of History
  • Claude A. Clegg III, Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Professor, African, African American, and Diaspora Studies and History

There will be no in-person component for the Saturday panel sessions. To register for the virtual discussion, click here.

The Adams Symposium is free and open to the public. Professor Shelby’s books will be available for sale at the event.

Carolina Public Humanities thanks the Taylor Charitable Trust, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Philosophy Department for generously supporting this year’s Maynard Adams Symposium.



April 8, 2022
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History
150 South Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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