Shakespeare, Race, and the Practical Humanities
We live in a world where news outlets remind us daily of the social and political issues that define our time. The recent third anniversary of events in Ferguson stands as a reminder of a moment that thrust race and a broad range of related concerns into the forefront of America’s public consciousness. Race is the ever-present reality that touches on every area of our lives, including housing, education, health care, voting, jobs, and the justice system. Still, debates rage on about the legitimacy of even talking about race, its significance in public policy, or quite simply its contemporary relevance—the so-called post-race argument.
These conversations have not gone unnoticed in academic life, and the symposium seeks to make a powerful contribution in advancing the notion of the practical humanities. Using Shakespeare as the literary, academic figure that has instant public recognition and cross over appeal, the symposium features five scholars speaking about race as a defining, modern reality. The symposium argues not only that race is an urgent, engaging modern American proposition, but also that our cultural institutions, especially colleges and universities, play a crucial role in educating twenty-first century students, and the society more generally, in the fluency of race in a changing world.
More detailed information about the symposium, which will be held at Lafayette College, can be found at http://sites.lafayette.edu/symposium/[sites.lafayette.edu].