MLK Distinguished Lecture Series Welcomes Christian Davenport to UA and Stillman College

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series will host Dr. Christian Davenport, associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland-College Park, for events at The University of Alabama and Stillman College on Oct. 28.

Now in its fifth year, the series attracts well-known scholars and civil rights advocates to the Tuscaloosa community to discuss the past and future of the ideas of social justice and non-violence that King championed. The series is a joint effort of UA, Stillman and Shelton State Community College.

Davenport, who also is a senior fellow and director of research at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, will give a presentation from a paper titled “Massacres and Me” at 11 a.m. at Stillman’s Stinson Auditorium.

In it, Davenport will discuss the difficult road he has traveled to become one of the foremost scholars in the world today on the politics of genocide, contentious politics – domestic conflict, human rights violations and state repression – democracy and regime change.

That evening, he will give a multimedia presentation on the UA campus at 7 p.m. in room 125 ten Hoor Hall (Stadium Drive and Marr’s Spring Road). This program, titled “Getting Rwanda Right: Genocide and Social Science Research,” will mix lecture with visual images from his field research in Rwanda.

Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, director of African American Studies and co-organizer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series, said that “While in Rwanda researching genocide and reconciliation, Christian [Davenport] witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of what happens when the world ignores a nation that falls into an all-out civil war. His presentation will help us grapple with how in 100 days close to a million people were slaughtered in this small African country a decade ago.

“Lest we forget and allow a tragedy of the same order of magnitude to unfold in Iraq, Sudan, and Haiti or anywhere else on the planet, we need to engage this research,” Shabazz said.

Davenport’s lecture at UA is sponsored by the UA African American Studies program, the department of political science, the Capstone International Center, and the department of geography.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Davenport’s primary research interests include human rights violations, social movements, measurement and racism. He is the author of numerous articles appearing in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Political Research Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, and the Monthly Review (among others).

He is the editor of “Paths to State Repression: Human Rights Violations and Contentious Politics” (Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield. 2000), and he is currently working on a book “The Rashomon Effect in the Social Sciences: Contentious Politics, Data Generation and the Importance of Perspective.” Another co-edited volume is currently under review: “Repression and Mobilization: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go From Here?”


Elizabeth M. Smith, UA Media Relations, 205/348-3782,


Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, associate professor of American Studies and director of the African American Studies Program, 205/348-2532 or 205/348-6339