What do Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Help have in common?

I am so disappointed I can’t go hear Vershawn Young speak about his new co-edited book, From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Narratives of Black Life on Friday, but maybe if I’m lucky everybody else will go and tell me all about it. Dr. Young often collaborates with UWaterloo English’s own Dr. Frankie Condon, and the works discussed in this book include novels, short stories, plays, and more. Read on for more information:

Students, faculty and staff are invited to hear professors Jennifer Simpson and Vershawn Young speak about their latest books at the first Department of Drama and Speech Communication 2015 Colloquium.

Friday, January 23, 1:30 to 3pm in Environment 3, room 4412

Professor Young’s edited volume (with Clair Oberon Garcia and Charise Pimentel), From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Narratives of Black Life, boldly investigates the promise and perils of racial ventriloquism, that is, when white authors appropriate the history and stories of black life. While narratives films such as The Help, Django Unchained, and The Blind Side have achieved popular acclaim, they have also been the subject of critical controversy, demonstrating that the much touted ‘post-racial America’ has yet to come to terms with the power of race in contemporary imaginative and social lives.

Professor Simpson’s monograph, Longing for Justice: Higher Education and Democracy’s Agenda, combines personal narrative with critical analysis to make the case for educational practices that connect to questions of democracy, justice, and the common good. In a bold challenge to conventional wisdom about Higher Education, Simpson argues that today’s neoliberal educational norms foreground abstract concepts and leave the complications of real life, especially the intricacies of power, unexamined. Analyzing modern teaching techniques, including service learning and civic engagement, Simpson concludes that for Higher Education to serve democracy it must strengthen students’ abilities to critically analyze social issues, recognize and challenge social inequities, and pursue justice.

Discussion will follow and light refreshments will be provided.


One response to “What do Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Help have in common?

  1. thomashenryhigginson

    Dr. Harris, you have another chance to hear Prof. Young talk about his new book on Tuesday, Jan.27:

    I hope to get my copy autographed!

    Thank you for your interest.

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