Campbell to discuss "Race and the Politics of Historical Memory" in Coe presentation

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2018-03-05 08:43:56 - General

James Campbell
James Campbell
Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History, Stanford University

Dr. James T. Campbell, the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in United States History at Stanford University, will present "Monumental Questions: Race and the Politics of Historical Memory in America Today" in the fourth annual James and Linnie Phifer History Speaker Series event at Coe College. The lecture will be held on Monday, March 19, beginning at 7 p.m. in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall. It is open to the public at no charge.

How do societies remember their pasts? What stories are memorialized and celebrated, and what events are evaded or forgotten? What are the politics of this process? How, in particular, do Americans remember and represent the country's racial past, a history that manifestly contradicts the "self-evident" propositions that the United States is about "liberty and equality," as enshrined in the founding documents? In recent years, these questions have acquired unprecedented salience and urgency in American life. The opening of the Smithsonian Institution's new Museum of African American History; the violent protests in Charlottesville; escalating demands at many colleges to change the names of campus buildings: as all these events and more make clear, Americans today are grappling over the meaning of their nation's racial past. In this talk, Campbell will reflect on the sources and meanings of these struggles.

At Stanford, Campbell teaches courses in American, African American and South African history. His books include "Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005," a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History. His forthcoming publication is "Slavery and the University," a co-edited collection of essays exploring the efforts of American universities to come to terms with their historical entanglements with slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

Campbell's current research focuses on the history and memory of the Mississippi Freedom Movement. A committed public historian, he has served as a consulting historian for numerous documentaries, curricular projects and museum exhibitions, including the Smithsonian Institution's recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The James and Linnie Phifer History Speaker Series is named in honor of President Emeritus James Phifer and his wife, Linnie, in recognition of their nearly three decades of distinguished service to Coe College. Throughout his higher education career, President Phifer's academic and scholarly interests were in history.

The event is sponsored by the Coe College History Department. For more information, visit or call 319-399-8605.