Uneasy in America: Readings on Race
Ben Vinson III, professor of history and director of the Center for Africana Studies, Krieger School
From day one, there has been nothing easy about the racial diversity of America. This course will explore the history, complexities, and consequences of the African diaspora and its impact on the United States, with an emphasis on the last 50 years and from multiple perspectives.
- Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora, by Michael A. Gomez. A history, wide ranging but concise, of the global dispersion of Africans from antiquity to the modern day. Neither Enemies Nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos, edited by Anani Dzidzienyo and Suzanne Oboler. Fourteen scholars on being black, Latino, or both in the Western Hemisphere.
- Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America, by Peniel E. Joseph. For 20 years (1955–1975), a mesmerizing cast of leaders occupied the political stage, struggling to advance African Americans, and they are all here: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis.
- Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness, by John L. Jackson Jr. Racism has not gone away, says Jackson, it’s gone underground, cloaked by political correctness, expressed in racial paranoia among both blacks and whites, and subtler in its manifestations.
The Art of Teaching
Francis Masci, associate professor of teacher preparation, School of Education
Just because one is an autodidact does not rule out the possibility of teaching others. This course offers a combination of practical guidance and ideas to ponder.
- Becoming a Teacher, by Forrest W. Parkay and Beverly Hardcastle Stanford. The eighth edition of a basic guide that opens with a pertinent question: “Why do you want to teach?”
- Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. The authors’ argument for bringing more coherence to teaching through designing a curriculum by working backward from the desired end results.
- Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do, edited by Linda Darling- Hammond et al. Let’s get meta: A book that teaches how to teach teachers to work in a world of constant flux.
- Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, by Lisa Delpit. A 1990 MacArthur fellow, Delpit, who has ranged from New Guinea to Alaska studying education, asks why schools don’t do a better job of teaching poor children and children of color, then puts forth a provocative answer.
- The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. Concise, practical advice on how to manage a classroom.
Biochemistry and Human Evolution (With Rather a Lot about Mitochondria)
Blake Hill, associate professor of biology, Krieger School
Identification of your ancestry, how you age, what diseases you suffer, what your cells do and why—all much determined by enzymes and mitochondria. A deep journey into what has made you into you. While you’re here, shake hands with your inner African. And your clan mother is calling.
- For the Love of Enzymes: The Odyssey of a Biochemist, by Arthur Kornberg. Simultaneously a history of biochemistry and a memoir by a Nobel laureate who does, indeed, love enzymes.
- Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, by Nick Lane. Maybe the best book title on the autodidact’s list. We suspect you have not given mitochondria a lot of thought, but some scientists believe they’re responsible for evolution, sex, aging, degenerative diseases, and death.
- The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry, by Bryan Sykes. Yes, more mitochondria, this time as mitochondrial DNA, which Sykes believes reveals that nearly all modern Europeans descend from one of seven clan mothers.
- The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, by Spencer Wells. One more odyssey, and in a sense the male counterpart to Seven Daughters of Eve: more DNA and more mitochondria, this time to trace the ancestry of man through the male Y chromosome.
Next: Ground-level French history, coping with breast cancer and a joint seminar on classical times.
- Joanne Merriam › Your summer of beach reading is over.
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