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College of Information and Communications

  • Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb to speak at joint symposiums

Jelani Cobb, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, journalist, historian and journalism school dean, will be the keynote speaker for the joint Inclusive Excellence Research Symposium and the Media & Civil Rights History Symposium on March 30-31.

The in-person event will be held at the Hilton Columbia Center, a hotel just a few blocks from the University. The majority of the symposium sessions will also be livestreamed. 

The joint symposiums kick off with a conversation between Cobb and local students. His keynote address will take place Thursday evening, March 30. It will coincide with a by-invitation dinner, with limited seating available for Media & Civil Rights History Symposium registrants; the keynote will be livestreamed.

The biennial Media & Civil Rights History Symposium will also feature a day of research papers, panel sessions and presentations by the winners of the 2021 and 2023 Farrar Award in Media & Civil Rights History, which recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited collection on the historical relationship between the media and civil rights the previous two years. The panels and Farrar Award session will be livestreamed; research paper sessions will not be livestreamed.

About the Keynote Speaker

Cobb became dean of Columbia University’s School of Journalism in August 2022 and serves as the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism in the school since 2016. He is also a renowned journalist, writing for "The New Yorker" magazine since 2012, frequently addressing race, politics, history and culture. In 2018, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He received the prestigious Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for a remarkable series of articles about race, injustice, and the police which he wrote for "The New Yorker." He is also a recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series "Policing the Police," which aired on PBS Frontline. 

His recent books include "Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress" and "To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic." He recently accepted a DuPont-Columbia Award on behalf of filmmaker Ava Duvernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary "13th" — in which he was prominently featured as an expert on the “mythology of black criminality.”

A historian, Cobb is the former director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. Cobb received his bachelor's degree from Howard University, and his master's and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University.


This engagement is sponsored by the College of Information and Communications Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the University Center for Civil Rights History and Research, the USC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

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