Kal Raustiala on Ralph Bunche

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

7:00 pm


Open to the Public

In conversation with John Torpey

Headshots of Kal Rustiala and John Torpey with the book cover for "The Absolutely Indispensable Man"
Left: Kal Rustiala; Right: John Torpey
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A legendary diplomat, scholar, and civil rights leader, Ralph Bunche was one of the most prominent Black Americans of the twentieth century. The first African American to obtain a political science Ph.D. from Harvard and a celebrated diplomat at the United Nations, he was once so famous he handed out the Best Picture award at the Oscars. Yet today Ralph Bunche is largely forgotten.

From marching with Martin Luther King to advising presidents and prime ministers, Ralph Bunche shaped our world in lasting ways. This definitive biography gives him his due. It also reminds us that postwar decolonization not only fundamentally transformed world politics, but also powerfully intersected with America's own civil rights struggle.

Kal Raustiala is the Promise Distinguished Professor of Comparative and International Law at UCLA Law School & Director of the Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA.

John Torpey is Presidential Professor of Sociology and History and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of numerous books, including The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State and Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics. He was president of the Eastern Sociological Society during 2016-2017.