The World According to Fannie Davis

Writer, filmmaker, and teacher Bridgett M. Davis will offer a presentation on her acclaimed memoir, The World According To Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, on October 21 at 7:00 p.m. The Word According to Fannie Davis tells the story of how Davis’s extraordinary mother used Detroit’s illegal lottery to provide for her family. Davis is also writer/director of  the award-winning film Naked Acts, which was screened at a host of festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Africa before having its theatrical and DVD release. A major advocate for promoting and nurturing literary talent by people of color, Davis is co-founder and curator for Words@Weeksville, a monthly reading series held at Weeksville Heritage Center in Central Brooklyn. She is professor of journalism and the writing professions at Baruch College, CUNY. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Los Angeles Times, Electric Lit, and The Millions. Davis’s webinar is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the African & African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, and Journalism programs. Registration is required.

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Teaching writing to young students

A full understanding of language development is necessary to teach writing in a successful, meaningful way. In Language in Writing Instruction: Enhancing Literacy in Grades 3-8 (Routledge, 2020), Lynch School of Education and Human Development Professor Emeritus María Estela Brisk addresses topics necessary for the successful language instruction for all students, including bilingual and English language learners. Moving from theory to practice, Language in Writing Instruction is a vital resource for courses in language education programs, in-service teacher-training seminars, and for pre-service and practicing English Language Arts teachers who want to expand their teaching abilities and knowledge bases. Ultimately, Brisk demonstrates how teachers can help students express their ideas and create cohesive texts. Brisk is award-winning educator who is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Bilingual Research Special Interest Group and the AERA’s Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award.

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Migration Narratives

A new book co-authored by Stanton E.F. Wortham, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean, traces a Mexican migrant community’s growth in an American town and the complex relationships that follow. Migration Narratives: Diverging Stories in Schools, Churches and Civic Institutions (Bloomsbury, 2020), the result of 11 years of field research, presents the voices and views of three groups of residents—Irish and Italian American, African American, and Mexican immigrant—who collectively tell a story of how interethnic relations played a central role in newcomers’ pathways, drawing links between the town’s earlier cycles of migration. Co-authored with Briana Nichols, Katherine Clonan-Roy, and Catherine Rhodes, this ethnographic study documents the complexities that migrants and hosts experience and counters the oversimplified picture of migration that can exist in today’s world. Read more in BC News.

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In honor of Lisa Sowle Cahill

A new book has been published to mark Monan Professor of Theology Lisa Sowle Cahill’s remarkable 45-year career as a teacher, research scholar, and leading voice in the field of Christian theological ethics. Reimagining the Moral Life: On Lisa Sowle Cahill’s Contributions to Christian Ethics (Orbis Books, 2020) is a collection of original essays by Cahill’s former doctoral students, written in tribute to their mentor. Reimagining the Moral Life provides an interpretive overview of Cahill’s specific contributions to Christian ethics and the impact her work has had. The book is edited by Ki Joo Choi (Seton Hall University), Sarah M. Moses (University of Mississippi), and Michael P. Walsh Professor of Bioethics at Boston College Andrea Vicini, S.J. Fr. Vicini writes in the book’s introduction: “The contributions of this volume…exemplify [Cahill’s] mentorship and passion for a type of justice that is informed by equality, mutuality, reciprocity, and solidarity with the poor, and which aims at promoting concretely the common good in our world today. With passion, insight, dedication, and ingenuity, Cahill has influenced the field of theological ethics and empowered women and men, lay and religious, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox to find their own theological voices and join in transforming our world.”

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The Secret Lives of Glaciers

Geographer and glaciologist M Jackson will discuss her book, The Secret Lives of Glaciers, at a webinar on October 7 at 7 p.m. In The Secret Lives of Glaciers, Jackson explores the profound impacts of glacier change on the human and physical geography of Iceland. Currently an Arctic Expert for the National Geographic Society, Jackson has worked for more than a decade in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities. Her memoir While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. Jackson’s appearance is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the Earth & Environmental Sciences Department and the Environmental Studies Program. Pre-registration is required.

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Intellectual property and racial bias

In her new book, The Color of Creatorship: Intellectual Property, Race, and the Making of Americans (Stanford University Press, 2020), Associate Professor of Communication and African and African Diaspora Studies Anjali Vats describes how narratives of “good” and “bad” intellectual property citizenship reproduce racial and colonial exclusion in U.S. copyright, patent, and trademark law. From the publisher: “Vats historicizes the figure of the citizen-creator, the white male maker who was incorporated into the national ideology as a key contributor to the nation’s moral and economic development. She also traces the emergence of racial panics around infringement, arguing that the post-racial creator exists in opposition to the figure of the hyper-racial infringer, a national enemy who is the opposite of the hardworking, innovative American creator. Vats argues that once anti-racist activists grapple with the underlying racial structures of intellectual property law, they can better advocate for strategies that resist the underlying drivers of racially disparate copyright, patent, and trademark policy.” Vats also holds a courtesy faculty appointment in the Boston College Law School.

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“One person, no vote”

Carol Anderson, author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy, will speak on that topic at a virtual webinar event on September 30 at 7 p.m. Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. Her book One Person, No Vote was long-listed for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Galbraith Award in non-fiction. She also is the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Nation’s Divide, a New York Times Bestseller, Washington Post Notable Book of 2016, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. She has served on working groups dealing with race at Stanford’s Center for Applied Science and Behavioral Studies, the Aspen Institute, and the United Nations. Anderson’s appearance is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics and the History Department. This event will be live streamed and registration is required.

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Lessons from Aristophanes

Behrakis Professor in Hellenic Political Studies Robert C. Bartlett presents new translations of Aristophanes’ most overtly political works in the new publication, Against Demagogues: What Aristophanes Can Teach Us about the Perils of Populism and the Fate of Democracy, New Translations of the Acharnians and the Knights (University of California Press, 2020). The comedic plays make clear the dangers to which democracies are prone and Bartlett disentangles Aristophanes’ serious teachings from the many jokes and pratfalls. The book features an interpretive essay for each play, expertly guiding readers through important plot points, explaining the significance of various characters, and shedding light on the meaning of the plays’ often madcap episodes. Along with a contextualizing introduction, Bartlett offers extensive notes explaining the many political, literary, and religious references and allusions. Bartlett’s other publications include the translations Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (with Susan Collins), and the book Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras’ Challenge to Socrates.

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Images in Plato’s Republic

Boston College Philosophy Professor Marina Berzins McCoy writes on the important role images play in Plato’s philosophical argumentation in her new book Image and Argument in Plato’s Republic (SUNY Press, 2020). McCoy argues that “Plato’s use of images is pervasive and part of the Republic‘s main arguments, not limited only to a few well-known images such as the pilot of the ship, the myth of metals, or the cave.” She writes in the book’s introduction, “What is not often sufficiently recognized is that the main philosophical arguments of the text about central matters such as justice or the nature of the forms are highly reliant on images. Through examining the use of imagery in arguments, we can learn better how Plato philosophizes with images, and thereby something more about how Plato understands philosophical language itself.” McCoy also is the author of Wounded Heroes: Vulnerability as a Virtue in Ancient Greek Literature and Philosophy and Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists.

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Interracial dialoguing & female storytelling

Emily Bernard, author of the acclaimed book Black is the Body: Stories From my Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine, will give a webinar on fostering interracial understanding and the importance of female storytelling on September 22 beginning at 7 p.m. Bernard will read an excerpt from Black is the Body, followed by a keynote speech and Q&A session. Bernard is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont. She is also the author of several other books, including Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten and Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships. The free, public event requires registration in order to receive a link to the virtual presentation. The event is sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Boston College with the support of the Institute for Liberal Arts and the American Studies Program.


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