Category: american history

“Untangling Whiteness: Reflection and Action”

In May, I had a conversation with a colleague about possible events to host at the Lillian E. Smith Center, especially during a pandemic with limited travel. He suggested a symposium focused on whiteness since Smith’s work explores both the construction and deconstruction of whiteness. We had this conversation after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. After the murder of Breonna Taylor. Before the murder … Read More “Untangling Whiteness: Reflection and Action”

“What if . . .?”: Questions About Education

The other day, Beth Loveland emailed me with her thoughts after she read Ashley McCall’s “What If We Radically Reimagined The New School Year?” As I read McCall’s article, I kept thinking about Lillian Smith and her comments to Mr. Hartley about education. McCall asks us, among a myriad of important questions, “What if we recognized that life—our day-to-day circumstances and our response to … Read More “What if . . .?”: Questions About Education


Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisn in the Sun” Lecture: Part I

My final lecture last fall for the American literature course at the University of Bergen was on Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the presence of Big Walter on stage during a performance in Boston that was directed by Liesl Tommy. As well, I have discussed my other lectures fro the American Literature class: Introductory … Read More Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisn in the Sun” Lecture: Part I


American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Last post, I wrote about the Southern paradoxes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Today, I want to look at the opening of the novel because Scout traces the events of the novel deep into our nation’s history, before Jem, Scout, or Atticus arrived on the scene. This is important because for all of the missed moments of reflection in the novel, the … Read More American History and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”


Why does history matter?

Visiting one of the museums here in Bergen, I walked through the rooms of Edvard Munch’s work, stopping in front of Ungdom (Youth). Ungdom is a large portrait of a boy with a multicolored background behind him that looks, in many ways, like waves. As I started at the portrait, I walked closer and peered at the background near the boy’s right arm and … Read More Why does history matter?