Arts Scholar and Leader to Join Georgetown as Co-Lead of New Racial Justice Institute

Anita smiling with red shirt while sitting in chair

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Theater and arts scholar Anita Gonzalez will begin her time at Georgetown as a faculty member and co-lead of the university’s new Racial Justice Institute (RJI) beginning July 1. 

The professor currently serves as professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and associate dean of faculty affairs at the University of Michigan and will join the performing arts and African American studies departments in the College. 

She brings to Georgetown over 20 years of experience developing programming and curricula in higher education to promote internationalism in the arts, engaged learning and interdisciplinary research. 

“The arts provide representation and visibility for disenfranchised populations, promote wellness and reinforce community bonds when people actively participate in them,” explains Gonzalez. “Communities fighting for racial justice use the arts to humanize their experiences and tell stories of their struggle and resilience, which is important because it activates, creating empathy for those with differing life experiences.”

Soyica Colbert, interim dean of the College, served as a member of the university’s Working Group on Racial Justice, which was established after Georgetown President John J. DeGioia’s university-wide commitments to address racial injustices. She says Gonzalez will be an enormous asset to the school.

“Anita is a multitalented artist and educator with a wealth of experience,” she says. She has led in academic and artistic settings, and I’m excited to see her work with Georgetown University.”

Action and the Arts

Gonzalez’s interests include performance and cultural studies, particularly examining the way in which communities perform identities.

The artist says she is excited for many things being at Georgetown and in the nation’s capital. 

“Georgetown sits in the nation’s capital close to policymakers who could actually affect change within our polarized, racialized domestic landscape,” says Gonzalez. I can’t wait to meet and interact with faculty members who are working for racial justice through a variety of disciplinary perspectives so we can create impact in multiple arenas.”

The professor is also excited to become part of the vibrant arts scene in Washington, DC as well as reconnecting with family who live in the city. 

Gonzalez says  she is looking forward to effectively engaging students in cultural work with local and global artists who have often been marginalized or ignored.

“Black arts have been so underrepresented in mainstream media and performance venues,” she explains. “There is so much diversity within Black communities globally. We seldom hear or see the success stories of people of color. I want to make sure the unique histories of People of Color, LGBTQ communities – really all communities with a story to tell – reach a broad audience through the public face of the arts.”

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