Critical Race Theory: Facts, Misconceptions and Opportunities for Engagement
Antonio Spikes, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
October 6 & 13
A topic of study for decades, critical race theory recently has become a topic of public conversation, appearing in political debates and discussions about what should be taught in schools. But what is critical race theory? This two-week forum led by Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Antonio Spikes will define critical race theory and examine public debates involving it. In the first session, we will introduce the current socio-political context surrounding critical race theory and define the tenets of the theory, including intersectionality, race as a social construct and the historical foundations of white supremacy. The second session will delve more deeply into historical elements of the theory, including the ways racism impacted the creation and enforcement of laws in American history and the social and political progress people of color made during the Civil Rights era as well as lost in its wake. We will examine misconceptions about critical race theory and why this long-established but little-known scholarly theory recently garnered popular attention. We will conclude by highlighting how this theoretical framework can provide important perspectives on questions involving race and racism in American society and be utilized to create a more inclusive and equitable society.
MORE THAN REBECCA: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DAPHNE DU MAURIER
Kate Aspengren, Adjunct Assistant Professor of English
October 20 & 27
Best known for her novel Rebecca, British author Daphne du Maurier’s work included short stories, plays, biography, nonfiction and seventeen novels beyond Rebecca. Often dismissed as a writer of “romantic” literature, present-day readers have begun to more fully appreciate the complexity of du Maurier’s wide-ranging body of work as well as her ability to tell stories that defy categorization. This two-week forum, led by Adjunct Assistant Professor of English Kate Aspengren, will explore du Maurier’s life and literary works. The first session will examine two profound influences on du Maurier’s work: her family and her passion for Cornwall, England, a place that became her home and the setting for many of her novels. We will look at her earliest works, including the novels
The Loving Spirit and The Parasites and the plays The Years Between and September Tide. In the second session, we will explore du Maurier’s later novels and short stories, including The Birds and Don’t Look Now. We will discuss her own stage adaptation of her most famous novel, Rebecca, as well as the film versions of it. Throughout the series, we will utilize film clips and readings to explore the cultural significance and continued popularity of Daphne du Maurier’s work.