The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 13, 2013

Scholar of race, politics to speak at Gustavus Adolphus

ST PETER — Gustavus Adolphus College is welcoming another big name to campus for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture.

Cathy Cohen is a leading scholar on race and politics. Her lecture is “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Age of Obama: Building a New Movement for the 21st Century.” The lecture, open to the public, is 10 a.m. next Monday, Jan. 21, in Christ Chapel.

Mimi Gerstbauer is the associate professor of political science, director of the Peace Studies Program at Gustavus, and on the committee in charge of booking the MLK lecturers. Gerstbauer said Cohen will be a refreshing departure from recent years’ visitors, in that she’s female, she’s young and she has a strong and interesting research background.

One area of her expertise lies in the political identity of African American youth, Gerstbauer said. She also has studied new media and social media and their influence on political participation.

“I think she’ll be a really good speaker,” Gerstbauer said. “She’s done a lot of interesting things.”

Cohen is the author of “The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics,” as well as “Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics.” She is also the co-editor of “Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader.”

Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and serves as the deputy provost for graduate education. She is a former director for the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

Cohen also has received numerous awards, including the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator’s Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Fellowship, and two major research grants from the Ford Foundation for her work as principal investigator of the Black Youth Project and the Mobilization, Change and Political and Civic Engagement Project.

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