A lot of our nation’s most contentious issues seem to transpire at the point where race, gender and politics intersect, and few people are more well-suited to address them than Melissa Harris-Perry. Born to a black father (who was dean of Afro-American Studies at University of Virginia) and a white mother who grew up in a Mormon family, she has a unique insight into the the complex fabric of American society. She has been on the faculty at Princeton and University of Chicago and currently serves as a professor of political science at Tulane, and she’s written a couple of well-received books, so suffice to say she’s done her homework. And if you’ve seen her eponymous TV show on MSNBC, you know she has a gift for incisive analysis of today’s most pressing political and social issues. If you’re a fan of progressive thinkers (or a tea party member who likes to heckle), you won’t want to miss her talk at Vanderbilt, titled “On Race, Health and Justice.” A reception and book signing will follow. Free and open to the public.