2016 Honors Colloquium

honors colloquium inequality and the american dream
In this election year, everybody’s talking about it. And this fall, “Inequality and the American Dream” is the focus of the University’s Honors Colloquium, a lecture series that invites big thinkers from many fields to the Kingston Campus. The goal: to engage the University community—and the community at large—in topics of importance to us all.

The Honors Colloquium is a long-standing URI tradition, and faculty coordinators of this year’s series—the 53rd annual—are bringing distinguished political scientists, media pundits, historians, constitutional experts, nationally known journalists, and union experts to address issues of economic, political, and social inequality.

The topics of the nine lectures are: Immigration; Race, Diversity and Education; Historical Perspectives; Poverty and Homelessness; Gender; Workplace; Politics; Labor; and What is to be Done About Inequality?

We hope to raise awareness among the URI community and the people of Rhode Island about the many facets of this inequality and to think together about how to combat these problems.

These free, public lectures will meet Tuesdays from Sept. 20 to Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road on the Kingston Campus. In addition to the lectures, the colloquium presents additional events, including the URI Theatre Department’s production of  “Good People” in October. The play examines the travails of a single mother of a child with disabilities who is fired from her Dollar Store job.

This year’s colloquium is the work of coordinators Jill Doerner, associate professor of sociology; Kristin Johnson, associate professor of political science; Erik Loomis, assistant professor of history, and Liam Malloy, assistant professor of economics.

“The issue of inequality is one of the greatest problems in the United States today, with large-scale implications on our society and politics,” said Professor Loomis. “We hope to raise awareness among the URI community and the people of Rhode Island about the many facets of this inequality and to think together about how to combat these problems.”

The series starts Tuesday, Sept. 20 with a talk on Immigration by Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, a political analyst and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She provides political analysis on U.S. politics and its implications for countries abroad. DeFrancesco Soto is a contributor to MSNBC and NBCNews.com, as well as a regular political analyst for Telemundo.

The second lecture on Sept. 27 features URI Diversity Week keynote speaker Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University. Her colloquium topic is “Race, Diversity and Education.”

The Honors Colloquium is sponsored by the University of Rhode Island Honors Program with generous support and assistance from alumni, faculty, and staff throughout the University. See full schedule of events.


For exactly 40 years, University of Rhode Island scientists and students have traveled the world’s oceans aboard the R/V Endeavor, the 185-foot research ship based at our Narragansett Bay Campus. Along with researchers from dozens of other institutions, they’ve explored the Black Sea for ancient shipwrecks, studied plankton in the North Atlantic, assessed the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and conducted innumerable other studies from the South Pacific to the Arctic and almost everywhere in between.