Annual <em>Brown</em> Lecture in Education Research
Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research
Seventeenth Annual AERA Brown Lecture in Education Research


The 2020 Brown Lecture—“The Segregation Pandemic: Brown as Treatment or Placebo?”was given by William F. Tate IV, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina, and a leading expert on the intersections between education, society, and public health. Dr. Tate's 30-minute lecture was immediately followed by a moderated discussion and audience Q&A. The lecture was given virtually on October 22, 2020. View the event program.

About the 2020 Brown Lecture—The Segregation Pandemic: Brown as Treatment or Placebo?

A pandemic is an epidemic occurring on a scale that crosses the globe.  A condition is not a pandemic merely because it exists in different regions of the world or results in the death of many people; it must also be infectious. In this lecture, Tate will argue that, over the past 500 years by way of mutually reinforcing regimes consisting of politicians, intellectuals, religious supporters, business leaders, and others, an ideology of racial biology “infected” the world, causing a disease to spread in global fashion. The disease fed on a rhetoric that assigned biological superiority to certain races. A pandemic of segregation resulted. In the United States, the Brown decision offered hope as a therapeutic. The lecture examines Brown through the lens of a medical model, while exploring its various pervasive effects on society and education.

The 2020 Brown Lecturer—William F. Tate IV

William F. Tate IV is the provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina. He holds the USC Education Foundation Distinguished Professorship with appointments in Sociology and Family and Preventive Medicine (secondary appointment). Prior to joining the University of South Carolina faculty, he served as dean and vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis, where he held the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professorship in Arts & Sciences. Before serving at Washington University in St. Louis, he held the William and Betty Adams Chair at TCU and served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Tate is a past president of the American Educational Research Association, where he was awarded fellow status. In addition, he was elected to the National Academy of Education. Tate earned his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow. He continued on to the University of Wisconsin at Madison as an Anna Julia Cooper Post-doctoral fellow. He completed a second post-doctoral training program in the Department of Psychiatry—Epidemiology and Prevention Group at the Washington University School of Medicine, where he earned a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology (MPE). Tate’s research concentrates in four areas: (1) human capital development in STEM fields; (2) epidemiological models and geospatial applications with a focus on adolescent and child development and health outcomes; (3) social development of youth in the context of metropolitan communities; and (4) stratification.


Chastity Pratt
Education Bureau Chief
Wall Street Journal


Shirley Malcom
Senior Advisor and Director of SEA Change
American Association for the Advancement of Science 

Aldon Morris
Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Northwestern University

American Sociological Association 

About the Annual Brown Lecture

The Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research is designed to feature the important role of research in advancing understanding of equality and equity in education. The Lectureship was inaugurated in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court took into account scientific research in issuing its landmark ruling. Each year a distinguished scholar notable for producing significant research related to equality in education is invited to give a public lecture in Washington, D.C.

Past Brown Lectures in Education Research
Webcasts Available

18th Annual AERA Brown Lecture Call for Nominations

AERA is seeking nominations for the 18th Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research. Read the Call for Nominations.

Event Webcast

Watch the event webcast. 

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