The Birth of a Nation: The Impact of the Media on Racial Hate


Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 1:30pm to 2:30pm


Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Join the Carr Center, with Desmond Ang, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Gloria Ayee, Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, for a conversation on the impact of popular media on racial hate. We will discuss Professor Ang’s recent research on this topic where he examines the first American blockbuster: 1915’s The Birth of a Nation and the effects of roadshows on increased lynchings and hate crimes, effects that remain till today. Professor Ayee, who teaches a course on Race, Film, and American Politics will discuss the impact of the film within the broader context of cinematic representation and its effects on racial identity and stratification.


  • Desmond Ang | Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Faculty Associate, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy  
  • Gloria Ayee | Lecturer on Government, Harvard University; Faculty Associate, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy  


  • Sushma Raman | Executive Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
  • Mathias Risse | Faculty Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy 

Dr. Desmond Ang is an applied economist and Assistant Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Faculty Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He is particularly interested in the intersection of race, education and government. His research examines the educational and political ramifications of acts of police violence and the effects of federal election oversight on minority turnout and political polarization. Desmond received his PhD in economics from University of California, San Diego and his B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Gloria Yayra A. Ayee is a Lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Ayee is a political scientist with expertise in behavior and identity politics, and race and ethnic politics. Her research interests center on American politics, comparative politics, human rights, transitional justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, race and civil rights policy, African politics, political institutions, political reconciliation, media policy and politics, politics and popular culture, and immigrant political incorporation. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and a Graduate Certificate in African and African American Studies from Duke University.

Sushma Raman is the Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She brings over two decades of global experience launching, scaling, and leading social justice and philanthropic programs and collaboratives, building capabilities of grassroots human rights organizations and their leaders, and teaching graduate courses in the public policy schools at UCLA, USC, and Harvard Kennedy School. Sushma is the co-author, along with Bill Schulz (former executive director of Amnesty International USA and Carr Center Senior Fellow), of the book The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights (Harvard University Press).

Mathias Risse is the Faculty Director at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy at the Harvard Kennedy School. His work primarily addresses questions of global justice ranging from human rights, inequality, taxation, trade and immigration to climate change, obligations to future generations and the future of technology. He has also worked on questions in ethics, decision theory and 19th century German philosophy, especially Nietzsche.  Risse is the author of On Global Justice (Princeton University Press) and Global Political Philosophy (Palgrave Macmillan)as well as On Trade Justice: A Philosophical Plea for a New Global Deal (Oxford University Press, with Gabriel Wollner) and On Justice: Philosophy, History, Foundations (Cambridge University Press)

Virtual Event Details
This event will be livestreamed on YouTube Live. Attendees registered for this event (link below) will receive a reminder for the livestream fifteen minutes before the event along with a link to the YouTube page where you can participate in the live chat and ask questions during the event.

Registration Closed