Monthly Archives: October 2019

Exploring race and racism, gender and misogyny: History 5410 Race and Gender in Modern America

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments is an exploratory, experimental history of the lives of young black women in northern cities in the early twentieth century. Its author, Saidiya Hartmann, had just won a MacArthur “genius” grant for her innovative scholarship when we sat down to discuss the book earlier this month. I think that it was at this moment that the seven students in History 5410 Race and Gender in Modern America really gelled. The day’s student seminar-leaders guided us through a provocative, wide-ranging discussion about how Hartmann’s method beautifully evoked the inner worlds of women largely invisible in the historical record where they mostly appear as statistics in sociologies of the ghetto, names on police blotters, or case files of detention centers. We considered what Hartmann taught us about these young women’s lives with her method that we might not have understood otherwise and discussed whether or not this was a method that graduate students in history might want to embrace.

Hartmann’s book is among a set of histories of race and gender in the U.S. since 1877 that the course includes. We have read about miscegenation, farmworkers and migrants, and women’s employment and “economic citizenship” and are moving on to civil rights, conservative politics of the family, and mass incarceration. Katie, a first-year doctoral student in the department, comments that “I have never explored race and gender exclusively in a course and the well-selected readings and discussions have forced me to re-evaluate my preconceived notions of both of these concepts. This class has challenged me to really understand how race and gender construct one another in today’s world.” Grace Campagna, a senior history major, echoes the point, observing that “The biggest takeaway from the class so far has been seeing the range of ways that those in power have used race and gender to construct and uphold social, political, and economic systems.”

The seminar is based in a student-centered pedagogy. Will Hogue, a second-year doctoral student, says that “Dr. Swinth’s commitment to experimenting with new and more democratic pedagogical methods has been very rewarding.” He adds, “The collaborative syllabus model gives the students not only the chance to tailor the course to their personal needs and goals, but also the chance to practice some lesson planning and course construction. In all, it has been helpful for our development both as scholars and teachers.” In fact, the class just completed a collaborative process to set the topics for the last four weeks of the seminar, all chosen by students to reflect their interests and to pursue questions that have arisen in the first part of the course.

At its most basic, this course investigates the ways that race and gender have shaped what it is like to live in the United States today. It draws upon the field of history and the skills, talents, and creativity of committed graduate students (and an accompanying professor) to explore the key categories and mechanisms that have made race and gender “tick” in American culture and society since Reconstruction. In many it is a traditional graduate readings seminar. Course readings analyze how these key, intersecting categories shaped American politics, economy, culture, state, and criminal justice system. But beyond that, the seminar’s deeper goal is to follow the class’s collective interests. What do class members, as individuals, and the class, as a group, want to understand better and more deeply about the history of race and gender in the U.S.? This course is as an opportunity to figure out why learning about this topic matters to comprehending U.S. history, why it matters to students (personally, professionally, as citizens/contributors), and why it matters to the larger world, future students, and other audiences we have yet to identify.

Comments Off on Exploring race and racism, gender and misogyny: History 5410 Race and Gender in Modern America

Filed under Courses

Dr. Westenley Alcenat on CNN’s Erin Burnett’s OutFront

Our colleague, Dr. Westenley Alcenat, appeared on CNN’s Erin Burnett’s OutFront on May 4, 2019, and June 19, 2019, to discuss reparations.  

You can watch both of his appearances here:

Comments Off on Dr. Westenley Alcenat on CNN’s Erin Burnett’s OutFront

Filed under Faculty News

BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Yuko Miki!

We are thrilled to announce that the American Historical Association has awarded Dr. Yuko Miki’s, Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2018), the Wesley-Logan Prize for the best book in African diaspora history. Please reach out to Dr. Yuko Miki at ymiki1@fordham.edu to send her your heartfelt congratulations on receiving this wonderful achievement!!!

Comments Off on BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Yuko Miki!

Filed under Faculty Awards

Forthcoming HGSA Workshops

 “Dissecting an Article: the Writing and Publishing Process”

Wednesday, October 16th,  1:00pm

“Digital Humanities Presentation”

“Siege of Antioch Project” A collaborative project between scholars in the United Kingdom and Fordham’s Center for Medieval Studies. 

Thursday, November 14th, 5:00pm 

Comments Off on Forthcoming HGSA Workshops

Filed under Digital Resources, Events, Grad Student News

New Faculty-Graduate Student Working Group – Narrating Slavery: Archives, Poetics, Politics.

Professors Yuko Miki and Laurie Lambert have started a Faculty-Graduate working group called Narrating Slavery: Archives, Poetics, Politics.

The purpose of the group is to create a collaborative space for faculty and graduate students working on questions related to slavery to share work and receive feedback on their research-in-progress over the course of two meetings per semester.

The first meeting is on Thursday, October 3, from 12 pm – 1:30 pm, at Plaza View Room, Lowenstein, Lincoln Center Campus. Refreshments will be served.

We will be discussing the recent issue of the New York Times Magazine “The 1619 Project,” remembering the landing of the first Africans in Virginia.
You can access the essays here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html

Their second meeting will be on Thursday, November 14, from 12 pm – 1:30 pm at the Plaza View Room. They will discuss an article in progress by Prof. Miki.

Please feel free to share this with any colleagues or graduate students whom you think might be interested. All are welcome, including faculty from other institutions in the area.

Please RSVP to Prof. Laurie Lambert at llambert3@fordham.edu or Prof. Yuko Miki at ymiki1@fordham.edu.

Comments Off on New Faculty-Graduate Student Working Group – Narrating Slavery: Archives, Poetics, Politics.

Filed under Department Events, Events, outreach