Professor Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies, was recently quoted in an article in The Boston Globe titled “Trump’s blind spot on black history worries scholars.” The May 3 article (by Astead W. Herndon) examined the reactions of numerous leading historians, including Dr. Anderson, to the U.S. president’s comments about American and especially black history. “From the first moments of the Trump administration, historians said in interviews, they were baffled along with other Americans by factual inaccuracies flowing from the White House. But in the months that followed, and especially this week, scholars said their initial surprise has turned to deep dismay over Trump’s seemingly ill-informed views of US history, especially as it relates to racial minorities.” Read Dr. Anderson’s contribution to the article below and check out the full piece here.
“‘There seems to be this kind of disdain for the reality of African-American history,’ said Carol Anderson, a professor at Emory University who specializes in black studies.
“‘When you don’t care enough about something to learn about it, yet you open up your mouth to speak about it — that’s contempt,’ Anderson said.”
Dr. James L. Roark, Samuel Candler Dobbs Emeritus Professor of History, contributed to the May 1, 2017 New York Times article, “AP Explains: Could the Civil War Have Been ‘Worked Out?'” Roark is a specialist on southern and nineteenth-century american history and provided commentary in response to President Donald Trump’s conjecture that Andrew Jackson “never would have let [the Civil War] happen.” Read Professor Roark’s analysis below and check out the full Associated Press piece here.
“COULD IT HAVE BEEN AVOIDED?
“Probably not, according to James Roark, an author and retired history professor at Emory University in Atlanta.
“‘As it got tangled with American politics and regional interests, nobody could figure out a way to save both the Union and preserve slavery in the South,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t for a lack of talking. There was plenty of talking.'”
Assistant Professor of History Daniel LaChance published Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States with the University of Chicago Press last year. LaChance’s book examines the role of the death penalty in American culture over a span of fifty years. The Emory News Center’s April Hunt recently published a feature about LaChance’s work, “‘Executing Freedom’ examines the evolving role of the death penalty.” Read an excerpt from the article below and check out the full piece here.
“I’ve long been interested in the place of punishment in our society,” says LaChance, who got his first glimpse of the criminal justice system by watching his father defend accused murderers in courtrooms in a state without the death penalty.
“Criminal trials, sentencing hearings and execution ceremonies are spectacles,” LaChance adds. “They are more than an outraged community’s response to crime. They are occasions where we reveal our deeply held beliefs about the relationship between the individual and the state.”
Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History, recently contributed to a radio segment on Radio France International Brazil titled “Historiador Jeffrey Lesser: ‘Decreto de Trump pode afugentar cérebros'” (Historian Jeffrey Lesser: ‘Trump’s Decree Could Scare Away Intellectual Talent'”). Lesser offered his perspective on the consequences of Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration. That perspective draws on his specialization in the history of immigration, role as chair of Emory’s History Department, and leader of various research and study abroad programs to Brazil that serve Emory’s international student population. Check out a translated section of the article below and read the full piece (in Portuguese) here.
At this moment the concern grows as many foreign students prepare to apply to American universities for classes that will begin in September. “It seems that many of the students from these seven countries (targeted in the executive order) will be admitted to Emory because they are brilliant. And now we all fear that these students will not come, that they will be prohibited (to enter the United States). This is bad for all of us, in the sense that we will lose this cohort of brilliant students.”
Dr. Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of History, was among fourteen contributors to a January 25 article in The New York Times, “How Do You View This Complex American Moment?” Read the full article and check out a copy of Crespino’s comments below.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a president take office under these circumstances with this many unknowns, people on both sides with a sense that we’re in uncharted waters. We have to remember what kind of revolutionary period we’re living through. We’re really living through a digital revolution that I think has upended our economy, it’s upended our society and now we see it clearly revolutionizing our politics and creating all of these circumstances that are new to us, that as a democracy, we’re going to try to get a hold of. My inclination is that we’re in this kind of disarray — this kind of messiness is going to be the new normal — for the foreseeable future.”
In a 1985 edition of Southern Changes: The Journal of the Southern Regional Council, Allen Tullos penned an article on the attempted prosecution of three civil rights activists for voter fraud in West Alabama. Tullos’s article, “Crackdown in the Black Belt,” was recently cited in a New York Times piece about the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions was the United States attorney in West Alabama who pursued and lost the case against the activists in 1986. Check out the excerpt below and read the full Times article, “The Voter Fraud Case Jeff Sessions Lost and Can’t Escape.” Dr. Tullos is Professor of History and Co-Director of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship.
In Perry County, the polls were only open for four hours in the afternoon, even though nearly one-third of adults worked outside the county and another 15 percent were over the age of 65. White voters used absentee balloting to keep their level of participation high among local residents and also to include some who had moved away. “Letters would go out from white elected officials to a list of people they knew who owned land locally but lived elsewhere: ‘Make sure you vote absentee,’” says Allen Tullos, a historian at Emory University who has written about the Turner case. “The white power structure felt under siege, so there was a sense of ‘We’ve got to call in our friends and families to roll this back.'”
Photo from the Bom Retiro neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil, the test case for “Metropolis, Migration and Mosquitoes.” Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, History Department Chair and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History, will co-teach an interdisciplinary course, “Metropolis, Migration and Mosquitoes,” in the spring semester 2017. Recently featured by the Emory News Center as a timely, creative, and cool course, the class will be led by Lesser along with Uriel Kitron, Goodrich C. White Professor and Chair of Environmental Sciences, and Ana Teixeira, Director of the Portuguese Language Program and Lecturer in Portuguese, Spanish & Portuguese. Guest lecturers will include Thomas D. Rogers, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History. Check out the course description below, and browse some of Emory’s other unique offerings this semester.
The course will analyze how “health” has been understood over time by both populations and providers using diverse methodologies, both traditional and novel. Using the Bom Retiro neighborhood of São Paulo as a test case, students will analyze disease patterns and prevention within a historical perspective. They will also analyze how questions of class, race and gender have led to historically different incidences of, and responses to, disease, understanding the relationship between cultural attitudes, exposure to diseases and access to health care.