The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is sponsoring a visit to the campus by Rogers Smith, the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to visiting classes and meeting informally with students, Smith will give a public talk titled “Courts and the Construction of Racial Identities Today” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, in the Geneva Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Smith teaches American constitutional law and political thought, with special interests in issues of citizenship, and racial, gender and class inequalities. Smith is the author of “The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of Racial Equality in America”; “Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History”; and “Liberalism and American Constitutional Law”. Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, he was Cowles Professor of Government at Yale University, where he received the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Prize. He earned his B.A. degree from James Madison College of Michigan State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.
Smith is appearing under the auspices of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar program. In 1956 the society established the Visiting Scholar program to enable chapters to bring distinguished scholars to their campuses. Each year 12 or more scholars are invited to undertake a series of visits to Phi Beta Kappa institutions taking part in the program. The visiting scholar spends two days at each of the institutions he or she visits, participating in classroom lectures and seminars, meeting informally with faculty and student groups, and giving one address open to the academic community.