Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Video Interview: Lynching & Anti-LGBT Violence

The Ohio State University English Department maintains a Tumblr blog.  This week, they are placing a spotlight on Queer Studies. The feature includes a video interview with me about the essay in which I draw parallels between lynching and anti-LGBT violence. I'm so grateful that the site's managers wanted to highlight this research and that they followed through and made it happen. They did a great job with the interview!

Please let us know what you think.

Video can be viewed from here:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Appreciated Attention for Essay on Lynching & Anti-LGBT Violence

On Friday, October 18, 2013, I was very pleasantly surprised to see my essay "Love in Action: Noting Similarities between Lynching Then and Anti-LGBT Violence Now" listed in Feministing's Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet.   

They call the essay "long, but totally worth the read."  I'll take that any day!!  

Their listing here.

(I described the essay on this blog here.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sig Synnestvedt Memorial Lecture at the College of Brockport

On Thursday, October 10, 2013, I gave the Sig Synnestvedt Memorial Lecture, an endowed annual event honoring the legacy of a Brockport History Department chair whose work on race relations left an important mark on the department and the college.

 The history department was an amazing host and they secured co-sponsorship from the departments of English, Theatre, and African American Studies. I appreciated this recognition that Living with Lynching contributes to several fields. 

Approximately 200 people attended the lecture, and one professor noted that more students seemed to bring their parents than in years past.  It was a pleasant surprise to everyone, including those bringing in additional chairs.

I was quite thrilled to meet and speak at length with Professor Carvin Eison, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. We spoke about several of his projects, especially Shadows of the Lynching TreeEspecially because this documentary considers the shadow that lynching casts in the Obama Era, we found much common ground, given that my next monograph will engage Michelle Obama. I'm looking forward to fruitful conversations in the coming years.

Along with Professor William Morris, who graciously organized much of my visit, and History Department chair Owen Ireland, Professor Alison Parker was an especially attentive host. Parker's work centers on United States History and she has done important work on Mary Church Terrell that I hope will lead to a biography of Terrell.  She is co-editor of a book series for the University of Rochester Press, Gender and Race in American History.

Besides having a fabulous day with faculty and students, I got to meet members of the Synnestvedt family!!! Sig and Nadine Synnestvedt's daughter, Barbara Synnestvedt Karas, continues their commitment to fostering an intellectual community at Brockport that appreciates the importance of engaging this country's racial past and present. She traveled from North Carolina to be a part of the event she makes possible and to meet with university officials about the future of the endowment. She gave opening remarks before my lecture and came to the reception afterward.  She also asked an important question during Q&A and shared wonderful insights later, as we discussed her career as an educator. I will always remember the lovely conversation she and I had with a student about Zora Neale Hurston's work.

Dee Smith-Johns has great energy, and we hit it off immediately!  She is Sig and Nadine Synnestvedt's niece, and she traveled from Philadelphia to participate in the event and help direct the endowment's future. At the reception, she spoke eloquently about the model of social engagement that Professor Synnestvedt's work provided to everyone in the family. She also gave examples from current events to underscore the enduring importance of understanding race and racism, and she explained that those assembled were part of a rich tradition at Brockport of equipping students to become citizens who make positive change.  

I was quite delighted to learn that she played a key role in my being considered for the honor of giving the memorial lecture.  Turns out, her spouse is an OSU alum, so ASCENT magazine comes to their home, and she read "Making Strides."  What a pleasant surprise to learn this only after arriving!

As if it were not enough to have had an amazing day full of smart conversations with faculty members, with graduate students over coffee and throughout the day, and with undergraduate students at the chair's dessert reception, I got in a 6-mile run along the Erie Canal the next morning before leaving for their airport. Granted, I didn't take this picture.  It was still dark when I ran, so I prioritized a headlight, not a camera. Still, this gives a sense of where I got to run before leaving Brockport, which had so warmly welcomed me.  Nothing could make my memories of this visit sweeter, not even the fabulous desserts I had at that reception!

All pictures courtesy of Barbara Synnestvedt Karas. Thank you!