The American Studies Program Presents:
A talk given by
Juan M. Floyd-Thomas
Associate Professor of African American Religious History
Vanderbilt Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Humanities Center Large Seminar Room, Rush Rhees Library
Co-Sponsored by the Department of Religion and Classics
While the #BlackLivesMatter movement has riveted the world's imagination and sparked political debates in recent years, Dr. Floyd-Thomas explores how the movement’s origins and evolution are actually rooted in the history of the United States as a “protest nation.” This presentation addresses #Black Lives Matter’s place within America’s grand tradition of protest movements, the moral politics of policing and gun violence, and the need to heal a deeply divided American nation.
Juan M. Floyd-Thomas is Associate Professor of African American Religious History. Dr. Floyd-Thomas is author of The Origins of Black Humanism: Reverend Ethelred Brown and the Unitarian Church (2008) and Liberating Black Church History: Making It Plain (2014) as well as co-author of Black Church Studies: An Introduction (2007) and The Altars Where We Worship: The Religious Significance of Popular Culture (2016). He is currently working on his next book-length project focused on the intellectual, cultural, and political impact of African American religious movements in Harlem during the twentieth century.
This talk addresses the unique visual style of American cake advertising during the early Cold War era. By comparing advertising campaigns for Pillsbury cake mixes with documentary photographs of the mushroom cloud, I discuss the ways in which the nation's most treasured dessert came to represent the period's anxious conflation of private and public, domestic and global, and mundane and sublime.
Rebecca Burditt is an assistant professor in the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She studies film and the visual culture of the postwar era.
This talk will highlight the influence of politics and ideology on the content and context of trials– and assess the strengths and weaknesses of our adversarial system of justice. Altschuler will draw on ten twentieth century trials which have become touchstones of American culture, consciousness, and conscience.
Altschuler received his Ph.D. in American History from Cornell in 1976 and has been an administrator and teacher at Cornell since 1981. He is the author or co-author of ten books and more than one thousand essays and reviews. In addition to his scholarly essays, he has written for American Heritage Magazine, The Australian, The Baltimore Sun, Barron’s Financial Weekly, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Florida Courier, Inside Higher Education, The Jerusalem Post, The Kansas City Star, The Los Angeles Times, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Moscow Times, The New York Observer, NPR’s Books We Like, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Portland Oregonian, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tulsa World, CNN.com, and Forbes.com. His op-eds and book reviews appear regularly on The Huffington Post, The Conversation US, and Psychology Today. The National Book Critics Circle has cited his work as “exemplary.” Psychology Today has featured it as “essential reading.” For four years he wrote a column for the Education Life section of the New York Times. From 2002-2005 he was a regular panelist on national and international affairs for the WCNY television program The Ivory Tower Half-Hour. Glenn Altschuler has won several awards for teaching and undergraduate advising at Cornell. He is the recipient of the Clark Teaching Award, the Donna and Robert Paul Award for Excellence in Faculty Advising, and the Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Award for Outstanding Advising. He is a Weiss Presidential Fellow. Altschuler has been an animating force in the program in American Studies, teaches large lecture courses in American popular culture, and has been a strong advocate on campus for high-quality undergraduate teaching and advising.
What does the study of poetry have to add to the history of slavery? Critical accounts of the literature of slavery overwhelmingly focus on prose: novels and tales, slave narratives, and other forms of first-person testimony. But recent developments in the seemingly unconnected worlds of scholarly editing and avant-garde poetry have reopened the question of the role of poetry in understanding and resisting slavery: the publication of two massive anthologies of antislavery poetry (Basker and Wood), and the outpouring of poems by 21st-century African American and diasporic poets that turn to the history of slavery to shed new light on repressed or forgotten aspects of the system. In this talk, I will ask how the history of poetic form intersects with the growth, debate over, and ultimate abolition of chattel slavery, detailing how particular poetic traditions and genres mobilize discourse about land, value, and human labor (the georgic); enact the conferral of personhood or the exchange of sympathy (apostrophe; sentimental verse); explore the nuances of cultural types (dramatic monologue); and permit the collective expression of hope and frustration (hymns and songs). I am interested in the license exercised by anti-slavery poets—the trade in mimicry, parody, impersonation, exaggeration, time-travel, and wish fulfillment—and how attending to poetry might help critics get beyond the questions of identity and veracity that exert a powerful magnetic force in and around anti-slavery prose.
Meredith L. McGill is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University. She is the author of American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (2003) and the editor of two collections of essays: The Traffic in Poems: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Transatlantic Exchange (2008) and Taking Liberties with the Author (2013). In addition to essays on nineteenth-century poetry and poetics, she has published widely on intellectual property, authorship, and the history of the book.
Students from any of Rochester’s four humanities PhD programs—English, history, philosophy, and visual and cultural studies—are invited to apply.
Find out how four undergraduate Public Health majors spent their summer.