Assistant Professor of History Tehila Sasson recently contributed to a roundtable for the journal Past & Present on the expanding field of research about the history of humanitarianism. Sasson, a specialist in Britain in the World, is currently completing her first monograph, provisionally titled We Are the World: Humanitarian Ethics, Global Markets and the End of Empire. Read an excerpt from her contribution to the roundtable below along with the full discussion here: “History and Humanitarianism: A Conversation.”
“I came as a sceptic to this field. In the political landscape where I grew up in Israel, human rights and humanitarianism have often been used as empty rhetoric to justify forms of intervention and governance rather than to offer any real political alternative to minorities and refugees. My first encounter with the works of Hannah Arendt, Didier Fassin and Jacques Rancière during my undergraduate studies in 2003 was formative to the way I came to perceive the field politically as well as intellectually. Human rights and humanitarianism, I learned from them, offered a thin political framework, indeed too thin, that was stripped of any robust notion of obligation, responsibility and rights. A class I took with Wendy Brown and Saba Mahmood later in graduate school taught me that not only rights discourse but also moral technologies carry with them an entire array of contradictions connected to empire, religion and the economy.”
History Department Chair and Jimmy Carter Professor of History Joseph Crespino discussed his most recent book, Atticus Finch: The Biography (Basic Books, 2018), with Brandon Tensley of Pacific Standard. In “How Reconsidering Atticus Finch Makes us Reconsider America,” Crespino talks about the enduring relevance of this fictional character in American society and politics. Read an excerpt below along with the full article here.
“Lee wrote her two novels in the midst of the massive resistance era. These were the days of Southern politics when you saw the rise of a right-wing, militant segregationist movement, when you had politicians who only a few years earlier had been dismissed as cranks, as nobodies, as jokes being elected to office—look at Ross Barnett in Mississippi or Lester Maddox in Georgia. That’s the period Lee was writing in. And she was trying to make sense of the fact that what she admired as the principled conservatism of her father was being overrun by—but also, crucially, was not standing up to—right-wing reactionaries across many states in the South.”
Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research and Learning, discussed the increasing influence of evangelicals in Brazilian society and politics for Bloomberg. The article was released three days before the first round of Brazil’s 2018 elections. The October 7 elections included the near-victory of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate with substantial evangelical support. Read the full piece, written by R.T. Watson, David Biller, and Samy Adghirni, here: “From Jails to Congress, Brazil’s Evangelicals Could Swing Election.”
A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Cahoon Family Professor of American History Patrick Allitt. The piece, “The Best and Worst Part of Being a Professor: Students” (by Audrey Williams June), surveys how professors view teaching responsibilities and interactions with students. Allitt is quoted as saying that “Teaching is really the best part of my job” – a sentiment that seems representative of broad satisfaction among professors with the teaching element of the job. Allitt is the author of I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
Read the full article here and see the brief excerpt below.
When students fall short of his expectations, Allitt says, his teaching experience gives him the perspective he needs to deal with it. Two things haven’t changed, he says, since he started teaching as a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. There will always be students who won’t do the reading. To deal with that, Allitt calls on every student in class during discussions. And most students don’t write as well as he would like. (He blames schools that rely on multiple-choice exams much more than did the schools in his native England, where he wrote in school every day.)
Dr. Carol Anderson’s newly-released book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, was named to the National Book Award longlist. Published by Bloomsbury and released on September 11, 2018, One Person, No Vote charts continuities in practices of voter suppression from the nineteenth century through the present. Read more about Anderson’s work and Emory’s representation on the National Book Award longlist in the Emory News Center’s article “Emory professors named to 2018 National Book Awards longlists.”
Dr. Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies, has just published a new book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (Bloomsbury Publishing 2018). Anderson is Associated Faculty in the Department of History. The Emory News Center profiled Anderson’s new work in a video and article by Kimber Williams: “New book explores history of voter suppression in America.” Anderson is also the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, which received the 2016 National Book Critics Award in Criticism.
Recent doctoral program graduate Danielle Wiggins (PhD, 2018) authored an article in The Washington Post. Wiggins’ piece examines how Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1980s presidential campaigns laid the groundwork for contemporary black progressives in the Democratic party. Wiggins is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia. Read the article here: “The black progressives remaking the Democratic Party.”