Series To Focus On Issues Affecting African-Americans

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Six prominent African-American psychologists will speak at Boston College this academic year as part of a newly inaugurated lecture series on social and family issues affecting African-Americans.

The series, "Psychological Dimensions of the African-American Experience in Urban America," begins Oct. 17 with a lecture by Roderick Watts, associate professor of psychology and director of clinical psychology training at DePaul University. Watts will present "A Psychosocial Perspective on Promoting Sociopolitical Development in Young African-American Men" from 3 to 4:45 p.m. in Cushing 001.

"We envision the series as an opportunity for our department and the wider University community to engage in serious self-education about current challenges facing African-Americans living in our cities," said Prof. Ramsay Liem (Psychology), who chaired the series' organizing committee. "We are hoping this lecture series also will help us to better understand how our department can become a hospitable and productive home to scholars with a research and teaching focus in this area."

Organizers hope to continue the lecture series on an annual or bi-annual basis, Liem said, perhaps with an alternating focus on the urban experiences of other non-white groups, such as Latinos or Asian-Americans.

The invited speakers are all recognized leaders in their fields, said Liem. Watts is doing work on the plight of young African-American men, he noted, while Michigan State University Professor of Psychology Harriette Pipes McAdoo, who will speak on Dec. 5, is regarded as one of the nation's foremost scholars on the African-American family. McAdoo's lecture will be "African-American Experiences: Dimensions of Psychological and Demographic Changes."

The series continues on Jan. 23, with Diane Scott-Jones, professor of psychology at Temple University, presenting "Urban Families: Problems and Prospects." James Jackson, the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, will speak on "Coping and Adaptation Among Urban African-Americans" on Feb. 13. University of Virginia Associate Professor of Psychology Melvin Wilson will present "African-American Families: Familial Interaction and Support" on March 13. Sandra Graham, education professor and chairwoman of the African-American Studies program at the University of California at Los Angeles, concludes the series on April 24 with "An Attributional Approach to Peer Aggression and Victimization."

Times and locations for the lectures will be announced at a later date.

"Psychological Dimensions" is sponsored by the Psychology Department, in cooperation with the Black Studies Program, the School of Education, and the Center for Child, Family and Community Partnerships, and supported by the Office of the Academic Vice President.

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