Category: american history

“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

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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

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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”

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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?

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Discussing Stephen Crane’s “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” in the Literature Classroom

This semester, I taught Stephen Crane’s “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” for the first time, and there are a few aspects of the story that I think are worth considering. The first item is a hypothetical exploration of the voices we hear in the text, specifically the voices of the drummer and the eponymous bride. The second has to do with the interactions … Read More Discussing Stephen Crane’s “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” in the Literature Classroom

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Lecture for “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

If you enjoy what you read here at Interminable Rambling, think about making a contribution on our Patreon page.  A few weeks ago, I posted about my introductory lecture for the American literature course I am teaching at the University of Bergen, and over the past few posts I have been discussing various aspects of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). Today, … Read More Lecture for “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

Reflections on EJI Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice

Every semester, I try something new in my classroom. Recently, I’ve been working on decentering my courses in various ways, specifically through the use of active learning assignments. These involve assignments such as my archives project  or creating more student centered discussion through the questions I pose in class. This summer, I taught a minimester course in early American literature. Essentially, we met 24 … Read More Reflections on EJI Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice

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Harriet Jacobs’ Challenge to the Cult of True Womanhood

A while back, I wrote a post about the ways that Harriet Jacobs, in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, challenges the Cult of True Womanhood. Specifically, she counters it by showing the ways that society denied her the chance to adhere to the four pillars of the Cult of True Womanhood. Thinking about this some more, I want to briefly look … Read More Harriet Jacobs’ Challenge to the Cult of True Womanhood

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African American Literature and the American Dream Syllabus

Whenever I teach an American literature survey course, the topic of the American Dream inevitably comes up. Typically, I ask students to define this mythological term and they reply with the standard answer, “The American Dream means happiness and success.” I elaborate upon this response by pointing them back, first to the Declaration of Independence, then to other texts. The Declaration states that “life, … Read More African American Literature and the American Dream Syllabus

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Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?

At the end of Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow (1946), Stephen Fox thinks about his son Etienne. The Civil War has just ended, and Stephen ponders what the racism and hate that Etienne carries within himself will bring for the future. Etienne’s feelings and ideas will lead to more bloodshed, more dead bodies, and a stunted progress towards equality. The events in Charlottesville, … Read More Charlottesville: What do I do in the classroom?