Held November 16, 2022 — watch event video here:

Beyond Sweatt v. Painter: A History of Race, Science, and Segregation at The University of Texas

Olivia Mena, PhD

Dr. Mena’s lecture examined the contributions of T. S. Painter and a group of pioneering geneticists at The University of Texas and uncovered important intersections in the histories of genetics, racial science, eugenics, and the struggles over racial segregation that occurred at the university. It explored the ways in which this local history of science also had wide-reaching and enduring implications for the larger legal and political struggles for racial equity taking place in the United States. 

Dr. Olivia Mena is a sociologist who studies race and ethnicity in a global context and serves as a Research Design Associate with CCI. With scholarly interests in postcolonial studies and cultural studies, she previously taught at both Princeton University, where she did her postdoctoral fellowship, and The University of Texas at Austin. She received her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics and holds a master’s degree in Race, Ethnicity, and Postcolonial Studies from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree in Bicultural and Bilingual Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio.


CCI’s Campus Contextualization Seminar series explores histories of race, gender, and power at The University of Texas at Austin. Speakers present research and new frameworks for analysis concerning the ways in which US universities continue to address these issues.