What does it mean to be an Uncle Tom? How did the strong character in Uncle Tom's Cabin morph into the image of a sell-out? Was Stowe's character Tom an Uncle Tom? Is Tom's mis-characterization evidence of racism? What can it tell us about name-calling and other bullying today?
Adena Spingarn: Harvard doctoral student
Adena Spingrarn is a PhD candidate in Harvard University's English Department. Her dissertation, "Uncle Tom in the American Imagination: A Cultural Biography," examines Uncle Tom's transformation in American cultural understanding from a heroic Christ figure in Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, to a submissive race traitor. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates Uncle Tom's appearances in politics, literature, religion, film, theater, visual art, music, television, and material culture, she argues that Uncle Tom has been a key figure through which Americans have debated issues of racial representation and strategies of protest. Before coming to Harvard, she was on the editorial staff of Vogue magazine, where she wrote about books, health, and music. Her current scholarship and teaching focus is on 19th- and 20th-century American literature and cultural history, with a special emphasis on African-American literature and history. In May 2010, she shared some of her research findings in an article on Uncle Tom's evolution for The Root.
Jeffery Ogbar: Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean for the Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut
Dr. Jeffery O.G. Ogbar has been active in activities concerning African American studies and African American students at UConn since his arrival in 1997. A nationally recognized public intellectual, his research interests include the 20th century United States with a focus in African American history. More specifically, Dr. Ogbar studies black nationalism and radical social protest, as well as the intersections of politics and Black popular culture. He has developed courses, lectured and published articles on subjects such as Pan-Africanism, civil rights struggles, black nationalism and hip-hop. In 1999-2000 Dr. Ogbar worked as a research fellow at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American research, while completing his book, Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity. In 2001, Dr. Ogbar was a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, while working on his second book, Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap. His articles have appeared in the "Journal of Religious Thought," the "Journal of Black Studies," "Souls" and other scholarly publications.
March 10, 2011
Reception at 5pm. Conversation from 5:30-7:00 pm.
Additional information at: www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org
Welcome to the conversation!
Welcome to the conversation!
Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.
The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.
The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate
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