Black History MonthA Conversation with Dr. Monica Bell & Dr. Elizabeth Hinton
Meet the Professors
Elizabeth Hinton: I'm mixed race. My mom is white and Jewish and my dad is Black. I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is a small college town, and I really struggled with being comfortable with my identity. I was constantly navigating two groups of friends—my white friends and my Black friends. It wasn't until I came to New York to study at New York University that I was able to begin to get comfortable with my identity within a group of friends that was truly diverse. I've always been really fascinated by the history of my ancestors and understanding their stories of overcoming adversity and trials—on both sides. That love and passion for my history, from my racial and ethnic backgrounds, got me focused on issues of injustice and justice.
Monica Bell: I am from Anderson, South Carolina, which is a small town in what we call "Upstate" South Carolina. The most critical part for me coming to my now-stage was church. I grew up in a very high-controlled environment, where there were all these kinds of rules—you’re required to wear ankle dresses and celebrations or holidays aren't allowed. I kind of adopted this ability to be in a place and be a part of an institution, but also able to observe it at the same time. I think that is very much why I'm a sociologist today. I love observing and analyzing people, how they live life, and how they negotiate sometimes straining, difficult situations.