Talks and Lectures in the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series

Spring 2020 - Spring 2023 Talks and Lectures:

Dr. Walt Wolfram,  Sociolinguistic (In)justice in Higher Education: Solving the Problem We Created

Recorded February 13th, 2020


Dr. Jonathon Rosa, Latinx Languages and Identities Beyond Borders

Recorded February 13th, 2020


Janice Ferebee, MSW, Building a Legacy of Leadership & Service: Are You a Stat or a Story?

Recorded on September 10th, 2020


Trina Jones, JD, and Jessica Roberts, JD, Genetic Race? An Exploration of Ancestry Testing and Racial Identityy

Recorded on October 8th, 2020



Professor Tom Belt, Endangered Language, and Cultural Crisis

Recorded on October 15th, 2020



Dr. Edna Andrews, Michael Newcity, JD, Dr. Gareth Price, and Dr. Walt Wolfram, Incite with Incite: What Happened on January 6th

Recorded on January 28th, 2021. No recording of this talk is available.


Vice Provost Gary Bennett, More than mistrust: Reducing vaccine hesitancy among medically vulnerable populations.

Talk occurred on April 5th, 2021. No recording of this talk is available.


Dr. Elaine W. Chun, The Limits and Possibilities of Linguistic Appropriation 

Recorded on April 15th, 2021


Dr. Martin Smith, Dr. Liliana Paredes, Dr. Abbas Benmamoun, Dr. Lee D. Baker, and Dr. Edna Andrews, Truth is a Linguistic Question 

Talk occurred on September 9, 2021

Dr. Kellee D. Watkins, Dr. Gerrelynn Patterson, Dr. Cheresa Simpson, and Dr. Zoila Airall, Truth is a Linguistic Question - Part 2 

Talk occurred on October 14, 2021

Dr. Georgia Ennis, Rainforest Radio: Language Oppression and Reclamation in the Western Amazon 

Talk occurred on November 4, 2021

Dubie Toa-Kwapong, Choosing "Home": Diasporic Return Migration to Accra, Ghana 

Talk occurred on February 24, 2022

Jessica Doyle, Cosmopolitics: Ecocultures of Abya Yala and Urihi A 

Talk occurred on March 17, 2022

Dr. John R. Rickford, NOT hearing African American Vernacular English (AAVE): As shown by the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin and the errors in the Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) systems used by Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and IBM  

Talk occurred on March 24, 2022

Dr. Gaillynn Clements, Discrimination in Academic Publishing 

Talk occurred on April 2, 2022

Dr. Liliana Paredes, Dr. Hae-Young Kim, Dr. Edna Andrews, and Professor Joan Munne, Identities Under Siege: the effects of essentialism, other-izing, & trauma on linguistic and cultural identities, Part 1 

Talk occurred on April 14, 2022

Dr. Dominika Baran and Dr. Gareth Price, Identities Under Siege: the effects of essentialism, other-izing, & trauma on linguistic and cultural identities, Part 2 

Talk occurred on April 19, 2022

Professor Neil Siegel, JD, and Professor Robin Kirk, Introductory remarks by Provost Sally Kornbluth, Moderated by Dr. Edna Andrews, The Reversal of Roe v. Wade - The Future of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States 

Talk occurred on September 7, 2022

Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton (UCLA), Hate & Innuendo 

Talk occurred on October 14, 2022

Dr. Aaron G. Colston, Education or Justification?: Language and the End of Rights 

Talk occurred on October 27, 2022

Dr. Paulina Duda (Brown), Advocating, Settling Accounts or Kitschification? Ukrainian Immigrants on and off the Polish Screen 

Talk occurred on November 3, 2022

Dr. Anita Layton (Waterloo), How I avoided math...then fell in love with it 

Talk occurred on February 3, 2023

Film screening and panel, Talking Black in America: Performance Traditions 

Discussion Panel with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Dr. Walt Wolfram (NCSU)and Danica Cullinan(NCSU)

Film screening and talk occurred on February 15, 2023

deandre miles-hercules (Emory),"Everybody's Zora": Languaging Blackness in the Works of Zora Neale Hurston 

Talk occurred on March 23,2023

Dr. Jennifer Hill, Understanding the relationships between students’ first languages and other academic outcomes: How and Why 

Talk occurred on March 30, 2023

Dr. Ofelia García(The Graduate Center, CUNY), A history of racial and disability exclusion in bilingual education: Critical translanguaging strikes back! 

Talk occurred on April 11, 2023

Concert, Singing Sorrow, Singing Tomorrow 

Duke University hosted this important free concert that is devoted to Mellon Sawyer themes and includes the DPS/ Durham Children's Choir, representing most of the Durham Public elementary and middle schools, and The Choral Society of Durham.

The concert focused on three pieces, and two of them are original commissioned pieces by Duke and other choirs to commemorate the memory of the Honorable John Lewis, as well as the important restoration project of African American photographs from Durham at the turn of the 20th century by Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris with the Duke Nashar Museum.

There was also a visual component to the concert. The final piece (a 5-movement cantata) is devoted to the story of two sisters who were forced to flee war-torn Aleppo. Where We Find Ourselves & The Girl from Aleppo, Rodney Wynkoop, Artistic Director; David Cole, Accompanist. The Durham Children’s Choir- Dena Byers, Artistic Director

Concert occurred on April 14, 2023