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WKU History Department - Harrison Lecture

2021 Lowell Harrison Distinguished Lecture: “Can the Past Save Us? The Role of History in the Fight for Racial Justice and Multiracial Democracy”

Dr. Renee Romano, Dept. of History, Oberlin College

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 7:00 pm via Zoom (pre-registration required)

Sponsored by the WKU Department of History

Contact Eric Reed (eric.reed@wku.edu) for more information or copies of the event poster.

In the summer of 2020, in the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, books about America’s racial history surged on national best-seller lists as many Americans decided that they needed to educate themselves about the nation’s past if they wanted to be part of the fight against systemic racism in the present. This talk explores, historicizes, and assesses the belief that reckoning with America’s racist past is vital to the struggle for social justice in the present. Drawing on the ideas of thinkers like James Baldwin and activists in the historical justice movement, the talk considers different arguments about why promoting a deeper understanding of America’s racial history may be a precondition for achieving a more equitable society. It explores why such views have gained traction in recent decades, how activists have sought to force a reckoning with history, and the sometimes pitched battles that have resulted from these efforts to challenge and change America’s historical narratives.

Pre-registration for the lecture is required. To pre-register, visit the event registration page. Then click on March 17th on the calendar, enter your contact information, and you will receive a Zoom meeting link.

2021 Harrison Lecture poster

Dr. Renee Romano

Renee C. Romano is the Robert S. Danforth Professor of History and Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio. A specialist in 20th and 21st century American cultural and political history and in the field of historical memory, she is the author of Racial Reckoning: Prosecuting America's Civil Rights Murders (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Postwar America (Harvard University Press, 2003.) She is also the co-editor of three collections: Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical Is Restaging America’s Past (Rutgers University Press, 2018); Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History that Talks Back (University of Georgia Press, 2012); and The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (University of Georgia Press, 2006). Her work has been featured on C-Span, National Public Radio, and in numerous podcasts. Romano has been involved in several public history projects and recently served as the Oberlin project director for the 2018 travelling public history exhibit, “Courage and Compassion: Our Shared Story of the Japanese American World War II Experience.” She has also served as a member of the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians and is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

The Harrison Distinguished Lecture

The Harrison Lecture series was established in 1993 through the generosity of Lowell and Penny Harrison to bring leading historians to share their work and ideas with the WKU community. Professor Harrison was a longtime faculty member of the WKU Department of History and a widely respected scholar of U.S. history.

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 Last Modified 3/5/21