Join leading experts, historians, curators, and others for discussions about equity; the census and our democracy; changing racial classifications over the centuries; how historians and artists use this mighty data to paint stories of people and communities; and more.
Unpacking the Census
April 1, 2020 is Census Day, the kickoff to our national, once a decade count. BHS digs into the numbers in this special series about the history, impact, and ramifications of being counted.
Melissa Nobles and Why Being Counted Counts
Thu, Mar 26, 6:30 pm
Starting in 1790, the US government has collected racial and ethnic data on every person in every household once every ten years. A fundamentally political exercise, the census shapes the changing meaning of citizenship and determines where resources go. Join Melissa Nobles, MIT Professor of Political Science, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and author of the book Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics, and FiveThirtyEight census reporter Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, for a conversation about what being counted means, how census information is used, and the ramifications of not participating.
Adventures of a Census-Detective (or Learning to Love Data for the Secret Stories that It Holds)
Tue, Mar 31, 6:30 pm
Join historian Julie Golia, curator of BHS’s exhibitions Waterfront and Taking Care of Brooklyn; Dan Bouk creator of the website, Census Stories, USA and associate professor of history at Colgate University; and Kubi Ackerman, curator of Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit Who We Are: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers, for a look at how historians and artists sleuth through census data to paint pictures of the past and present day. Hear stories of how these deceptively dry records unlock dramatic tales of individuals and communities.
The Unscientific Science of Categorizing Race
Mon, Apr 6, 6:30 pm
As long as there has been a census, its racial categories have been fluid. A person classified in 1900 as black, could be mulatto in 1910, and white in 1920. This history tells the story of our county’s evolving self-understanding, particularly in its social construction of race. Join Paul Schor, professor at the Université Paris Diderot and author of the ground-breaking book, Counting Americans: How the US Census Classified the Nation, for a fascinating examination of the slippery business of racial labeling, and what the census’ wildly changing racial categories reveal.
Thanks to our funders
This series is funded in part through generous support from the Brooklyn Community Foundation.