Institute of African American Affairs and
Department of Sociology

at New York University

Scholar-in-Residence Photos and Videos

Lecture 1 - April 17, 2017

Lecture 2 - April 18, 2017

Lecture 3 - April 19, 2017

Orlando Patterson, a historical and cultural sociologist, is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of the West Indies, his alma mater, and the London School of Economics where he received his PhD. He has written on the cultural sociology of sports, especially the game of cricket. Professor Patterson is the author of numerous academic papers and six major academic books including, Slavery and Social Death (1982), Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (1991), The Ordeal of Integration (1997), and The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth (2015).

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LECTURE 1: Monday, April 17, 2017

Slavery, Race and Freedom: Ancient Athens, Modern America
The first lecture examines the nature and origins of freedom in socio-historical terms. Parallels are drawn between Ancient Athens and the U.S. South in the role of large-scale slavery and race as constitutive forces in the emergence of Herrenvolk and broader democracy, as well as the commitment to freedom as supreme value.  The lecture explores the consequences for, and tragic engagement of African Americans in this central paradox of American history and political culture.

Introduction and Response: Professor Guillermina Jasso, NYU Department of Sociology

Time: 6:30 pm
Location: NYU-Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life Grand Hall, Room 573
238 Thompson Street (between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South) NY, NY 10012


  • Orlando Patterson “BETWEEN OBAMA AND FERGUSON: The Paradoxes of Race in Contemporary America.” December 8, 2015 © NYU-IAAA

Video Playlist

LECTURE 2: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Slavery, Christianity and Race: Ancient Rome, Modern America
This lecture examines the influence of ancient Roman slave society on Paul’s remaking of Christianity and the constitutive role of triadic redemptive freedom in the creed. The argument is made that the introjection of freedom, and irrepressible secular projections back into the real world of class and conflict explain the longevity of both freedom and Christianity, and the religion’s appeal to emperors and slaves alike, as well as white Southern supremacists and civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King.

Welcome: Provost Katherine E. Fleming, Office of the Provost

Introduction: Professor Michael Hout, Interim Department Chair, NYU Department of Sociology

Time 6:30 pm
Location: NYU Law School, Vanderbilt Hall
(Room: Greenberg Lounge, 1st floor)
40 Washington Square South (between Sullivan and Macdougal Streets) NY, NY 10012



Video Playlist

LECTURE 3: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Freedom, Contestation and Race in America: How we got from Obama to Trump
Democracy has been an integral part of the triad of freedom in the modern West, but has always been held in suspicion by American conservative elites. We draw on historical, survey and interview data to show how the sustained undermining of democracy has resulted in its uncoupling from the semantic field of freedom among many Americans, culminating in two distinct publics. Nonchalance by many regarding the threats to fundamental rights in the Bush-Cheney application of the Patriot Act, and the electoral victory of Donald Trump following the unprecedented presidency of a black American, are explained in terms of this fragmentation in the ideological structure of freedom.

Introduction and Response: Professor Steven Lukes, NYU Department of Sociology

Time: 6:30 pm
Location: NYU Law School, Vanderbilt Hall
(Room: Greenberg Lounge, 1st floor)
40 Washington Square South (between Sullivan and Macdougal Streets) NY, NY  10012



Video Playlist