Past Event

Shop Talk

The Public Square, in partnership with the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is pleased to announce a new series: “Shop Talk.” Amid haircuts and fades, people from all walks of life—scholars, barbers, customers, and community members—will grapple with hard issues ranging from gender violence and immigration to criminal justice and access to health care.

Building on our efforts to bridge the university and the community, “Shop Talk” will bring UIC scholars to Ron’s Barber Shop on the west side of Chicago on the last Friday of every month from January to June 2010. Based on the findings of their own research, scholars will discuss the connections between race, ethnicity, and public policy.

Join us for the first program in this series with Beth Richie, Professor of Criminal Justice and African-American Studies at UIC whose book Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women, explores the intersections of race, gender and crime. Her research interests include incarceration rates of women and conditions of confinement; violence against women in low income communities; and youth and violence.

IRRPP will provide a limited number of free books to discussion participants.

More about Beth Richie

Beth Richie is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and African-American Studies at UIC. The emphasis of Richie’s scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors.  

Professor Richie is the author of numerous articles concerning Black Feminism and Gender Violence, Race and Criminal Justice Policy, and the Social Dynamics around issues of sexuality, families, and grassroots organizations in African American Communities. Her book, Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, is taught in many college courses and is cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender, and crime. Her upcoming book, Black Women, Male Violence and the Build-up of a Prison Nation, chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States.

Dr. Richie is a qualitative researcher who is also working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women’s prisons. Her work has been supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute for Justice, and the National Institute of Corrections. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, the Advocacy Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a board member of the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, the Center for Fathers’ Families and Public Policy, and is a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence.

What people are saying about Shop Talk!

“A lot of people in this community may not have the opportunity to talk to scholars at UIC. This will give scholars and the community a chance to hear different views than what they’re used to about some very sensitive topics and issues. And definitely, here at Ron’s Barber Shop, we don’t have a problem talking.” –  Ron Gibson, owner and barber at Ron’s Barber Shop.

“By creating and fostering community sites of learning, we seek to share experiences, research, and knowledge. Scholarship and the exchange of ideas shouldn’t be limited to the university. Through Shop Talk, we are building community and empowering ourselves to become shapers of history.” – Alice Kim, director of The Public Square.

“The classroom is not the only place where powerful learning and debate can happen.  We’re looking forward to sharing ideas, exploring what research means for improving daily life in Chicago, and learning from Shop Talk!” – Kevin Kumashiro, IRRPP

This series is presented in partnership with The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and The Public Square.


Thanks to Whole Foods-River Forest for their generous support.  


For more information, call 312.422.5580.