Overcoming Prejudice and Seeking Justice


Our statement

The humanities are a source of empowerment and a foundation for overcoming prejudice and seeking justice.



Within our current initiatives and funding sources, we’re creating new strategies to foster equity and justice at ASU.


New initiatives

The IHR is organizing strategies to create new initiatives within the IHR and other humanities units.



The IHR is aggregating antiracist resources for use in humanities courses and for the community.

A statement from the Institute for Humanities Research

“I can’t breathe” is a phrase that now resonates loudly, testifying to a longstanding history of violence against Black Americans. Breath is life. “I can’t breathe” testifies not only to the senseless killing of George Floyd but also the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Dion Johnson and too many others. And “I can’t breathe” recalls, too, the disproportionate toll on Black lives taken by the coronavirus.

Black Lives Matter. And the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) stands in solidarity with the people of our country who have risen up to proclaim this truth. Racial injustice is a systemic problem. The long history of violence against Black people in this nation needs to be understood to drive reform, justice and equity. We are called to act now. We are humanists; we work in the fields of history, philosophy, literature, digital humanities and more. Drawing on the perspectives that our work affords, we commit to using our knowledge, experiences and resources to uplift the voices of Black Americans and tell the history of Black America.

The IHR is committed to building upon the foundation of ASU’s Charter and taking “fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health” of the communities we serve. Alongside the ASU President’s Office, our Deans, faculty, staff and students, we urge ASU humanities to move forward with initiatives that promise to advance equity and racial justice. We recognize and support the important work that our humanities colleagues are already doing to address racial inequity and injustice. We know, too, that we need to redouble our efforts.

We acknowledge that conversations are not enough. The IHR will aggregate antiracist resources to augment ASU Humanities courses and curricula.* We will require our existing research initiatives to collaborate on strategies to center Black voices and experiences in order to answer the call of service to our communities. Over the next two weeks, we will organize strategies with our stakeholders. In coordination with the many humanities units we serve, we will announce publicly these initiatives as soon as we are able.

In the midst of this longstanding, historical crisis, the Institute for Humanities Research pledges to find methods, models and ways to be human and humane in the world together. We pledge to take up the humanities as a source of empowerment and a foundation for reckoning with disparity, overcoming prejudice and seeking justice.

⁠—The Institute for Humanities Research

Authors include Elizabeth Langland, Director; Ron Broglio, Co-Director; Elizabeth Grumbach, Assistant Director; Gaymon Bennett, Co-Lead of the Humane Tech Initiative; Lauren Whitby, Communications Specialist; Valeria Cabello, Communications Assistant; and Victoria Vandekop, IHR Humane Tech Research Assistant.

* This will include resources such as “Teaching in an Uprising: Readings on Race and Democracy” as aggregated and posted by the AAIHS, which can be found below.


Within our current initiatives and funding sources, we’re creating new strategies to foster equity and justice at ASU.

Mapping Black Ecologies: This seed grant project is a collaboration between the Black Ecologies initiative’s J.T. Roane and printmaker and photographer Huewayne Watson to create a series of visual layers for a deep mapping project (Hosbey and Roane, 2019) in rural Tidewater Virginia. Integrating dance, film, photography and print work in the form of a zine with local Black expressive culture, including gogo music, a sermonic in the Black prophetic tradition and poetry across digital and print forms, this work triangulates place, ecology and history in order to draw to light the ongoing realities of toxic stewardship and dominion and their impact on the health of rural Black communities as well as the histories of Black survival and thriving despite ecocide under slavery, Jim Crow and the current extractivist economy.

Race, Queerness and TikTok Solidarity and Safety in Algorithmic Culture: This research cluster explores, using contextual readings and hands-on app research, questions such as: (1) How does TikTok, as a company, foster or betray trust?; (2) How does the TikTok algorithm allow subcultures on the app to connect, and is TikTok a “safer” application for marginalized groups because of their highly tuned algorithm?; (3) How do TikTok’s safety features both aid (by promoting mental health awareness and digital wellbeing) and also harm (by silencing or muting content by LGBTQIA+ creators, creators of color and activists) users?; (4) What strategies do TikTok users deploy on the app to keep themselves safe (e.g., strategically liking posts, blocking similar content, scrolling before a TikTok ends, deleting negative comments and/or responding to negative comments via green screen effects), and are these strategies potentially pedagogically important?; and (5) What is the dark side of TikTok, i.e., how do memes like “tell us about yourself” trick TikTok users into revealing private information that may put them in danger?

New Initiatives

The IHR is working with our leadership team as well as other ASU humanities units to create new initiatives that address overcoming prejudice and seeking justice. 

Black Ecologies Initiative: Encompasses various multi-media projects to document, amplify and create alternative cultural resources related to the ecological vulnerability Black communities in the U.S. and around the African Diaspora face.


Resource Author/Organization Publication Year Genre Description

The New York Times

2019 audio, podcast

In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the 250 years of slavery that followed.

Constance Grady, Vox

2020 bibliography, resource list

A reading list of nonfiction books that can help you understand where we are right now, how we got here, and where we can go next.


2020 curricula, event

A weeklong personal and professional development initiative for academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and white supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action.

ASU T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

2020 resource list

Be an agent of change. Fight racism. Explore helpful resources in the areas of mental health, employment, education and more.

American Library Association

2020 curricula, resource list

ALA's Great Stories Club includes book lists, discussion questions, related reading lists and promotional materials. Themes, such as "Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation" are selected by librarians and humanities scholars to resonate with reluctant readers and young people facing difficult life challenges.

Lauren E. Cagle, Michelle F. Eble, Laura Gonzales, Meredith A. Johnson, Nathan R. Johnson, Natasha N. Jones, Liz Lane, Temptaous Mckoy, Kristen R. Moore, Ricky Reynoso, Emma J. Rose, GPat Patterson, Fernando Sánchez, Ann Shivers-McNair, Michele Simmons, Erica M. Stone, Jason Tham, Rebecca Walton, Miriam F. Williams

2021 book, website

This document offers explicit guidance on anti-racist professional practices in the form of a heuristic for editors, reviewers, and authors involved in academic reviewing.


2020 curricula, resource list

The site will collect resources that you can use for your teaching, to acknowledge and address the history, theory and literature that can contextualize what has led to the activism in the US around racism in the summer of 2020.

African American Intellectual History Society

2020 blog

Black Perspectives is the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). As engaged scholars, we are deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity.

Penny Walker, ASU Now

2020 bibliography, news article, resource list

The authors of books on this list come from a variety of units across ASU, and the titles include both fiction and nonfiction. Many of the books on the list also have a gender focus.

2020 website

A list of racial equity resources and tools and updates from BYU and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

National Endowment for the Humanities

curricula, film, resource list, video

The NEH Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America. The four films that are part of this project tell the remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo, from slavery to segregation.

Catherine Halley,  JSTOR Daily

2020 artwork, curricula

Educators everywhere are asking how can we help students understand that the death of George Floyd was not an isolated, tragic incident perpetrated by a few bad individuals, but part of a broader pattern of institutionalized racism. This collection of articles explains this context.

ASU Center for the Study of Race and Democracy

2020 video

Throughout the course of the virtual discussion, led by Center for the Study of Race and Democracy Director Lois Brown, panelists covered, among other things: the growing fear and distrust of police, the inevitability of exhaustion and the need to keep forging ahead, the loss of a middle ground on issues of race, the kinds of systemic changes needed and how to be an agent of change, and the role and responsibilities of the public and journalists in documenting police brutality.

Project Implicit

2013 assessment

In the book Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test. Project Implicit is graciously hosting electronic versions of Blindspot’s IATs. These should work properly on any desktop computer and on several touch-screen devices including iPads, Android tablets, Nook tablets, and the Kindle Fire.

curricula, event, website

We are an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders who have devoted ourselves to the work of creating racially equitable organizations and systems. We help individuals and organizations develop tools to challenge patterns of power and grow equity.

MP Associates, Center for Assessment and
Policy Development, World Trust Educational Services

2020 resource list, website

Words and their multiple uses reflect the tremendous diversity that characterizes our society. Many of the terms in this glossary have evolved over time.

ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

2020 resource list

This guide provides resources about racial justice in the United States including information about national social justice organizations, local social justice organizations and government entities, resources for protesters and research resources including databases, books, law reviews and journals.   

Phoenix Public Library

2020 bibliography, resource list

A curated list of LGBTQIA+ and anti-racism books for kids, teens, and adults.

Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, Bailie Gregory

2020 bibliography, resource list

This is a working document for scaffolding anti-racism resources. The goal is to facilitate growth for white folks to become allies, and eventually accomplices for anti-racist work.


2020 audio, podcast

Seizing Freedom is the personal history of the struggle to define freedom after 400 years of slavery. Using first-hand accounts from diaries, newspapers, speeches, and letters, this is a narrated docu-drama podcast about the failures and successes of the Reconstruction era, told by those who made it happen.

ASU Humanities, SHPRS, ACMRS, ASU Center for Jewish Studies, ASU Libraries, SILC

2020 bibliography, curricula, resource list

This website provides pedagogical resources for teachers who want to address the global history of slavery and captivity during the medieval period, broadly defined.

Isabella Rosario, NPR

2020 audio, book, film, podcast, resource list

We've compiled a list of books, films and podcasts about systemic racism, acknowledging that they are just books, films and podcasts. You'll find research on how racism permeates everything from the criminal justice system to health care.

The African American Policy Forum

2020 audio, podcast, video

Though Coronavirus did not create the stark social, financial, and political inequalities that define life for many Americans, it has made them more strikingly visible than any moment in recent history. Moderated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, AAPF’s “Under The Blacklight” series seeks to interrupt the narratives, political decisions, and histories that serve as the conditions of possibility for COVID-19’s destruction.