Humanities Now! A New Series on Current Events and the Humanities

Scene from the HBO mini-series, The Plot Against America (2020)

In the fall of 2018, I taught a course on speculative fiction. We read three novels that I have been thinking of lately: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016); Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), and finally, Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America (2004) (now a mini-series on HBO). Historically, Lindbergh was in fact a spokesperson for the “America First Committee,” an isolationist organization that argued against any U.S. intervention in World War II. After Pearl Harbor, publicly Lindbergh supported…

Continue reading

An Agora at Drury: Wrestling with Kierkegaard

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Each semester, Drury University’s Department of Philosophy and Religion hosts a “Single Author” course in which students, faculty, staff, and members of the Springfield community come together to study and discuss the ideas of an influential philosopher or writer. The group meets every Monday at noon in Olin Library to enjoy complimentary refreshments and reflect together on the week’s reading. The format of the class is inspired by the ancient Greek agora, a space in…

Continue reading

Walking in Alabama: Enclosure and In-Between-ness

This gallery contains 4 photos.

This spring, I gave a paper at the British Women Writer’s Conference in Auburn, Alabama. Alabama has been in the news a lot lately, but I was there to think about women and legal rights in the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first. My paper was on walking in Anne Brontë’s 1848 novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. That sounds strange: to write about walking in a novel. Walking is just something people tend to do,…

Continue reading

Misinformed: How a 1918 Narrative Shapes Our Discussion of Slavery and Race Today

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Historical knowledge does not exist independently of the historian’s interpretation. The fallacious obsession with the study of history as a series of empirical facts is entrenched in the primary and secondary education system of the United States. Students are taught a distorted history built on triumphalism and the biases of archaic historians. Slavery, in particular, is a victim of such narrow pedagogy, as Antebellum America’s central event is taught fragmented, sanitized, and without context (Shuster…

Continue reading