Will We Ever Learn?: the Struggle for Equality One Group At a Time

Partial support for The Equality Project comes from Mass Humanities, State-Based Affiliate of The National Endowment For The Humanities.

WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s (WAMC) morning flagship news and cultural radio program, The Roundtable, will present radio content that will explore, with scholars and radio listeners, questions surrounding persistent inequality of certain groups compared with others in historical and contemporary American culture.

Friday, November 16 - What is equality? How do we define it? What makes us equal?

Listen to the segment here.

  • Alexander Keyssar - Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard University
  • Paul Finkelman - John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Duke University and the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy and Senior Fellow at the Government Law Center at Albany Law

Monday, November 19 - What does disenfranchisement mean? What groups are enfranchised, disenfranchised, and forgotten?

Listen to the segment here.

  • Carol Graham - Brookings Institution Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development
  • Beck Wai-Ling Packard - Professor of Psychology and Education; Director of the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College

Tuesday, November 20 - What can we do to cross the divide and continue to make progress in all areas of equal human rights?

Listen to the segment here.

  • Alex Willingham - Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Williams College
  • Michael Klarman - Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

This radio series will explore disenfranchised populations, and the key distinction between the disenfranchised and those who have never been enfranchised at all. We will examine disparate treatment due to race, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic factors, with a specific focus on the collective response.  We will look at mistakes and successes made in past struggles, the social/political learning curve, and whether strategies employed by one struggle for rights might be transferred to another, examining questions such as:

  • “What is equality?  How do we define it?  What makes us equal?”
  • “What is disenfranchisement?” “Who are the enfranchised, the disenfranchised, and those forgotten?”
  • “What are we doing to cross the divide?”

As part of the discussion, we will ask:  What can struggles for enfranchisement and for social/economic equality tell us about the American social contract on the topic of equality?  Does collective action challenge that social contract itself or merely its implementation?

Partial support for The Equality Project comes from Mass Humanities, State-Based Affiliate of The National Endowment For The Humanities.