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Zoom Webinar – Berger International Speaker Series with Renee Allen – Contextualizing the Triggering Event: Colonial White Supremacy, Anti-Blackness, and Black Lives Matter in Italy and the United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Virtual Event

Please join us on Tuesday, 2/21/2023 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.  for a virtual seminar given by our guest Renee Allen, Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Director of the Center for Race and Law at St. John’s University School of Law. The seminar will be moderated by Desirée LeClercq, Associate Member of the Law Faculty & Proskauer Employment and Labor Law Assistant Professor, School of Industrial & Labor Relations.

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The Seminar:

Contextualizing the Triggering Event: Colonial White Supremacy, Anti-Blackness, and Black Lives Matter in Italy and the United States

Professor Allen employs a critical comparative framework to analyze anti-Black origin and entrenchment in the United States and Italy. Thinking about who law serves, two questions are central to this analysis: How did colonists become White? How has law been used to project anti-Blackness and protect Whiteness? The answers to these questions reveal the ways colonial laws and practices established Whiteness as civil, moral, and powerful. After comparing colonialism in the United States and Italy and finding similarities in post-colonial collective amnesia, Professor Allen demonstrates how blood narratives and phenotypical characteristics perpetuate anti-Blackness in both countries by legally limiting the rights of Black people. Finally, with an understanding of the ways the colonial mindset of White supremacy influences law, Professor Allen examines geographically disparate Black liberation movements and reveals historical connections in the Black diasporas in Italy and the United States. With these connections in mind, she concludes by theorizing implications for the next steps in global movements for Black lives from an Afro-pessimist point of view.

About our Distinguished Guest:

Renee Allen

Renee Nicole Allen joined the St. John’s University School of Law faculty in 2019. She teaches Legal Writing I & II, The Music & The Movement: Race, Rhythm, and Social Justice, Public Interest Drafting, Comparative Social Justice, and Race and the Law. She is the founding faculty director for the Center for Race and Law which launched in the fall of 2022.

Professor Allen’s scholarship focuses on race, social justice, and legal education. Her recent scholarship examined structural racism in legal academia and defined the academic terror marginalized students experience in the law school white space. Her work has also explored the ways Black women are silenced by systemic gendered racism in the law school white space and encouraged law schools to reevaluate academic norms to create positive experiences for Black women. Her articles and essays have been published in several journals, including the UCLA Law Review, Rutgers Law Review, and William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice. She has presented her scholarship at national conferences, including AALS, SEALS, SALT, LWI, the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning, and the National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference.

Professor Allen is a proud first-generation attorney and an accidental law professor. Prior to joining the St. John’s faculty, she held academic support and bar preparation positions at several law schools. Before academia, she practiced family law in metro Atlanta. She received her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and her B.A. in English Literature from Mercer University. In 2019, she earned a master's degree in educational psychology from the University of Tennessee.

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