The Selfless Gift
Senior and 2012 recipient of the WFU/WSSU Martin Luther King, Jr. Building the Dream Award, Bentrice Jusu will speak about the obligation to help others that came in the form of overt talents and hurdles.
Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male
Most people believe young men are primarily interested in short-term “hookup” sex and uninterested in relationships. In this talk, Dr. Andrew Smiler explores how we have come to believe this image of young men. He will discuss some of his research on young men’s dating and sexual experiences, much of which challenges the stereotypical portrayal of young men as “Casanovas.”
Reclaiming Spirit, Reframing Flesh
Why did enslaved blacks embrace Christianity? Motivated by this question, Dr. Derek S. Hicks, in his recently published book, Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition, provides an interpretation of the function of Christianity for oppressed African Americans. His work emphasizes everyday religious practices that engage culture in an effort to reclaim the human spirit fractured by physical, political, spiritual, and social degradation. Giving attention to black faith as articulated during antebellum period America, Hicks asserts that restorative sensibilities—expressed in moral politics, protest documents, material culture, music, literature, and even aesthetic presentation—disclose a ‘reclaiming spirit’ that permeates all of black religious life and thought.
The Nature of Trauma in American Novels
In her book, The Nature of Trauma in American Novels, Dr. Michelle Balaev examines trauma in American literature by first examining psychological theories that offer differing views on what trauma is and how it is experienced and remembered. From here she broadens the psychological models available to literary critics in order to suggest that trauma is multiply represented in art. These representations include pathological and non-pathological formulations in the novel. Her main point is that trauma should not be synonymous with an epistemological void (speechless, unrepresentable) because the psychological research does not support this and artistic representations do not singularly support this. She also argues that trauma is contextually understood, imagined, and remembered in fiction in relation to such factors as culture, place, time period, and landscape. She takes an ecocritical approach to examine landscape imagery as a medium that conveys the value of trauma in the novel for the protagonist and/or community. She introduces terms such as the traumatized protagonist to look at how the individual functions as a cultural representative. This is not to say that transhistorical trauma is valid (which she argues against), but that art elicits a connection between the personal and public by creating a character who resonates with collective events. These are events that large groups have experienced such as natural disasters, war, or large-scale forced assimilation based upon racist ideologies and practices. She also introduces the term narrative dissociation to analyze the rhetorical strategies of expressing psychological dissociation. The novels examined closely include the genres of African American literature, Asian American literature, Native American literature, Western American literature, and Pacific American literature.
Row, row, row your boat: Recovery from disaster in the John T. Christian Library at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
James Byrd, Deacon OneCard manager, will speak about the process of disaster recovery following Hurricane Katrina in the John T. Christian Library at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He will also discuss some of the lessons learned from the experience both positive and negative.