Tag Archives: united states


#CharlestonSyllabus Brings Context to Tragedy

How can institutions of higher education spread critical understanding of and context for significant current events? How can we use social media to become more conscious about race, about our history, and about how to be better activists, allies and participants in the civic sphere?

#CharlestonSyllabus is the Twitter hashtag started by Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and African-American studies at Brandeis University, in the wake of the recent tragedy in Charleston, SC. Prof. Williams sought to use the hashtag to aggregate “historical knowledge that frames contemporary racial violence and its deep roots,” inspired by the #FergusonSyllabus hashtag from last summer. From an interview with Prof. Williams by Stacey Patton at the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

Q. Where is the #CharlestonSyllabus hosted, and what kind of measurable response have you seen so far?

A. It’s on the African American Intellectual History Society’s website. Since Saturday, when it went up, it’s had over 55,000 views, averaging 900 an hour. It’s gotten almost 20,000 likes on Facebook, 13,000 mentions and 28,000 engagements on Twitter. We’ve had a few trolls who’ve tried to hijack the thread with rants about how the Confederate flag is not a racist symbol but a source of Southern heritage and pride. But over all, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. By Sunday we had about 10,000 suggestions of books, articles, and other documents.

Continue reading #CharlestonSyllabus Brings Context to Tragedy

An Rong Xu’s “The Chinese Americans”

Photo: An Rong Xu, The Chinese Americans

Photographer An Rong Xu’s series “The Chinese Americans” connects the experiences of immigrant Americans by threading together the narratives of Asian Americans across several cities in the United States. In the essay that accompanies this New York Times feature, the artist writes that these pieces are reflections on identity. Her childhood in Queens was shaped in part by anti-Asian racism. Xu revisits the journey of her great-grandfather, documenting the physical and psychic spaces of contemporary Asian immigrant communities in New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

Xu’s visual art responds to her painful formative experiences by mining familial and community histories that are contextualized by their immigration to America and their roles in American history. To this end, she locates relatives who have worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. Continue reading An Rong Xu’s “The Chinese Americans”