U.S. Intellectual History Blog


A new reason to Thank (fill in your personal [   ] here) it’s Friday–I’m going to start blogging regularly on this day! I can sense the palpable excitement among the S-USIH ranks and visitors. 🙂 (TGIF won out over a joke about moving from being an irregular blogger to a regular one…..but I still couldn’t help mentioning it. Hahahaha).

As this intro attests, I am more breezy than my fellow bloggers. I guess having many different viewpoints and styles is one of the advantages of a group blog. I will be interested to hear your reactions to my thoughts, and hope that my style suits frequent readers and brings new visitors to the site.

A few things about me–I study African American Intellectual History, particularly the notions of Internationalism and Interracialism, during the 1920s-1930s. I argue that the interwar period is a distinct era, rather than a period that should be attached to the “nadir” (which began after Reconstruction ended) or stretched into the Long Civil Rights Movement. The generation that came of age in this era were born into Jim Crow and the solutions to racial struggles they developed reflected that. Black protest was certainly present during the era, but state-sanctioned and independent violence suppressed it and the media did not cover it. At the same time, I think black history should encompass more than the struggle. For instance, the presence of African Americans in Higher Education grew exponentially, faster even than the rest of the country. Blacks and whites viewed Education as a potential way out of racial conflict, but different individuals meant very different things by that. And sometimes, education was about jobs and culture-creation as much as it was about struggle.

My work tends to be story based, drawing ideas up out of experience and writings.I use a great deal of primary sources, balancing writings from the period with letters, diaries, and other archival sources.

In terms of what I will use this blogging space for–I am hesitant to present too much of my research since I am almost unpublished (hopefully that will change dramatically over the summer). So I plan to combine my historical reflections on contemporary events and essays with a lot of discussion of teaching. Whereas research needs to be protected on some level for publication, particularly for us young scholars, I believe teaching only improves when methods and experiences are aired and debated. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts about teaching in response to my own!

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