Wednesday, February 13, 2013
On Monday, February 4, 2013, I delivered a keynote lecture to help kick off Bucknell University's programming for Black History Month. The event was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender. The details that made the visit so lovely were handled by Dr. Vincent Stephens, Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services. He is an American Studies scholar whose analyses have been quite influential. Aside from numerous music reviews in publications such as Popular Music & Society, his essay “Pop Goes the Rapper: A Close Reading of Eminem’s Genderphobia” appeared in the journal Popular Music and was reprinted in the popular culture textbook Common Culture. For more on Dr. Stephens' publications, including free downloads, visit his Selected Works page.
Time spent with faculty members and students made this a particularly productive visit. Conversations with theatre scholar Meenakshi Ponnuswami were particularly warm and invigorating. We found much common ground through dramatists James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka, and Dr. Ponnuswami gave me wonderful suggestions for an essay with which I have been struggling. I also had a great time meeting Dr. Michael Drexler who specializes in nineteenth-century American literature. Fortunately, a few students also made time for me outside of the lecture! I had a great tour from Paul and a nice lunch with Juanita and Trayvon. Also, Darby stayed after the lecture to share his ideas about the issues with which we both struggle as we try to remain true to our ideals in a society that sometimes seems reluctant to reward that kind of integrity. I came back to Columbus energized!