Brown & Slavery & Justice

About the Committee

In April 2003, Brown President Ruth J. Simmons convened a group of faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students and administrators to serve as members of a Steering Committee to investigate the University’s historical relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

2003-2006 University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice

Committee Members

Brenda Allen was associate provost and director of institutional diversity at Brown from 2003 to 2009. She has published widely in the area of culture and cognitive processing, and in 2015, she co-authored a book titled “The Psychology of African American Experiences: Paradigms of the Past and Present.” Before joining Brown in 2003, Allen was associate professor of psychology and assistant to the president and director of institutional diversity at Smith College. While at Smith, Allen received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Smith College President’s Award for the Promotion of the Smith Design for Diversity.  

Paul Armstrong is a professor of English at Brown. From 2001 to 2006, he served as dean of the College. His teaching and research concentrate on the modern period, the novel and the theory of interpretation. He is the author of numerous books of literary criticism and theory, including “How Literature Plays with the Brain: The Neuroscience of Reading and Art,” “The Phenomenology of Henry James” and “Play and the Politics of Reading: The Social Uses of Modernist Form.” He is also the editor of Norton Critical Editions of E.M. Forster’s novel “Howards End” and of Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness.” Prior to coming to Brown, Armstrong held academic and administrative positions at SUNY – Stony Brook, the University of Oregon, Georgia Tech and the University of Virginia.

Farid Azfar served as the Steering Committee’s graduate student representative as a doctoral candidate in Brown’s Department of History (he later joined the faculty as a professor of history at Swarthmore College). While at Brown, he completed a dissertation titled “Enlightenment as Reformation: Disordered Bodies, Commercial Life and Utopian Visions of Social Improvement in Britain, 1690-1740.” Before coming to Brown, Azfar received a B.A. in international relations from Tufts University and an M.A. in geography from the University of Southern California. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the Huntington Library, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History.

Omer Bartov is a distinguished professor of European history at Brown. He is the author of many books, including “Murder in Our Midst: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing, and Representation;” “Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity;” “Germany’s War and the Holocaust: Disputed Histories;” and “The ‘Jew’ in Cinema: From The Golem to Don't Touch My Holocaust.” He has also edited or co-edited scholarly anthologies on the Holocaust, genocide and religion, and war crimes. Bartov has received numerous fellowships and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

B. Anthony Bogues served as chair of Brown’s Department of Africana Studies from 2003 to 2009. He is a professor of humanities and critical theory, history of art and architecture, and Africana studies and was appointed the director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice in 2012. Bogues is the author or editor of numerous books on political theory, intellectual history and Caribbean history, including “Loas, History, and Memory: The Art of Haiti” and the award-winning “Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals.” Since coming to Brown in 1999, he has received numerous teaching awards and honors, including the Royce Professorship, the Hazeltine Citation for Teaching Excellence, and the Presidential Citation for Scholarship and Teaching. Bogues has held fellowships and visiting professorships at numerous institutions, including the International Institute of Social History, the University of the West Indies, Howard University, Dartmouth College and the University of Cape Town. Between 1989 and 1992, he served as chief of staff for the late Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley.

James Campbell (Steering Committee Chair) was an associate professor of American civilization, Africana studies and history at Brown from 1999 to 2008 (he later became a professor of U.S. history at Stanford University). He is the author of several books, including “Songs of Zion: The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and South Africa” and “Middle Passages:  African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005.” Campbell is also co-editor of the anthology “Race, Nation, and Empire in American History.” Campbell has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Carl Sandburg Literary Prize for Nonfiction and the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Prize. Before coming to Brown, he taught at Northwestern University and at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ross E. Cheit is a professor of political science and international and public affairs at Brown, and the former director of Brown’s Law and Public Policy Program. A recipient of both a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Cheit clerked for the Oregon Supreme Court and practiced law for several years before joining the Brown faculty. He has published extensively on public and private sector regulation, statutes of limitation, and the problem of righting old wrongs. He has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Hazeltine Citation for Teaching Excellence and the William G. McLoughlin Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences.

Steve Cornish served as associate dean of the College at Brown (he later became an academic affairs coordinator and adjunct faculty member at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire). Prior to his arrival at Brown, he taught sociology at Dartmouth College, where he also coordinated the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program. His scholarly interests are race and ethnicity, the Caribbean and the politics of popular culture.

Neta C. Crawford co-founded the Costs of War project at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs while at Brown from 2001 to 2008 and also directed the Global Ethics Project (she later became professor and chair of political science at Boston University). She has published books and articles about ethics, foreign and military policy, sanctions, humanitarian intervention, slavery, abolition, colonialism and decolonization. Her book “Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization and Humanitarian Intervention” won the American Political Science Association Prize for best book in international history and politics in 2003. Crawford has served as a member of the board of directors of the Academic Council on the United Nations System, the governing council of the American Political Science Association, the editorial board of the American Political Science Review, and the advisory board of Praxis International, a nonprofit organization focused on post-conflict reconciliation and human rights. She has also served on the American Political Science Association's Committee on Professional Ethics, Rights and Freedoms and Boston University's Council on Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. She held postdoctoral fellowships at Brown, Harvard's Bunting Institute and the University of Southern California. She holds a bachelor's degree from Brown (Class of 1985) and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Evelyn Hu-DeHart served as director of Brown’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America from 2002 to 2013 (she later became a professor of history and American studies at Brown). She is the author of numerous books and articles in Asian American, Native American and African American history. Her research focuses on what Cuban historian Juan Perez de la Riva calls "historia de la gente sin historia,” or the history of those without history. Before coming to Brown, Hu-DeHart taught at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she chaired the Department of Ethnic Studies and directed the Center for Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America. She has also taught at the City University of New York, New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Arizona and the University of Michigan.

Vanessa Huang served as one of the Steering Committee’s undergraduate representatives and received her A.B. in ethnic studies from Brown in 2006. She later became vice president of partnerships at Possibility Labs. Huang has written extensively on race and incarceration, prison abolition, and the impact of the war on terror on communities of color.

Arlene R. Keizer was an associate professor of English and American civilization at Brown from 2004 to 2007 (she later became a professor of humanities and media studies at the Pratt Institute in New York). Her teaching and scholarship focus on African American and Caribbean literature and culture, particularly on the resurgence of slavery as a theme in late 20th-century black literature and visual arts. She is the author of “Black Subjects: Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery.” Before coming to Brown, Keizer taught in the Department of English and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Seth Magaziner served as one of the Steering Committee’s undergraduate representatives and received his A.B. in history from Brown in 2006. In 2015, he became Rhode Island general treasurer. Before assuming office, he was a vice president and lead analyst at the Boston-based investment firm Trillium Asset Management. After graduating from Brown, he taught at the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Creswell Elementary School in Opelousas, Louisiana, under the auspices of Teach for America.

Marion Orr is a professor of public policy, political science and urban studies at Brown. His research focuses on American government and politics, urban politics, race and politics, community organizing, and the politics of urban school reform. He is the author of “Black Social Capital: The Politics of School Reform in Baltimore,” which won the Policy Studies Organization’s Aaron Wildavsky Award, and co-author of “The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education,” which was named the best book on urban politics by the American Political Science Association. Orr taught at Duke University before joining the Brown faculty in 1999.

Kerry Smith is an associate professor of history and East Asian studies at Brown. He is the author of “A Time of Crisis: Japan, the Great Depression, and Rural Revitalization,” as well as a number of book chapters and essays on the social and economic transformation of modern Japan. His current research focuses on the public histories of disaster and war. His article "The Showa Hall: Memorializing Japan's War at Home" received the G. Wesley Johnson Prize from the National Council on Public History.

Will Tucker-Ray served as one of the Steering Committee’s undergraduate members and received his A.B. in Africana studies and public policy from Brown in 2004. He later became a behavioral economics lead in Google’s consumer products division. After receiving a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University, Tucker-Ray served as managing director of Ideas42, a design and consulting firm that uses behavioral sciences insights to address complex social problems, and spent five years as a fellow on the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team.

Michael Vorenberg is an associate professor of history at Brown, where he teaches courses on the history of law, slavery, race, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. His published work includes “The Emancipation Proclamation: A Brief History with Documents” and “Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment,” as well as essays on black colonization efforts during the Civil War and on Abraham Lincoln’s approach to slavery reparations. Vorenberg taught at SUNY-Buffalo and Harvard University before coming to Brown.