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Center for Jewish Studies Presents

Caroline Light Presents: "'Trapped in History': Collective Memory and Social Justice"

12/1/17, 12:00 PM

About this event

Starting with James Baldwin's famous assertion, "people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them," this informal discussion addresses intersections of historiography and justice. I will discuss the complex ways in which contemporary politics frame collective memory while obfuscating the (re)production of power in the stories that take shape as historical "truth." 

Caroline Light is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Harvard's Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. She has a doctorate in history, and her work explores the ways in which race, gender, and region shape collective (mis)memory and archival silence. Her first book, That Pride of Race and Character: the Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South (NYU Press, 2014) illuminates the experience of southern Jewish assimilation through the lens of benevolent outreach to reveal how gendered and racialized performances of elite, white cultural capital served as a critical mode of survival for a racially liminal community of southerners. Her recent book, Stand Your Ground: A History of America's Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense (Beacon Press, 2017) provides a critical genealogy of armed citizenship. Beginning with the centuries-old adage "a man's home is his castle," she tracks the history of our nation's relationship to lethal self-defense, from the duty to retreat to the "shoot first, ask questions later" ethos that prevails in many jurisdictions today. Her work reveals how contemporary appeals to "stand your ground" mask an exclusionary commitment to security for the few, at the expense of the many.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.
Cosponsored by History
Event Location
  • 325 Nicholson Hall, UMN East Bank
  • 216 Pillsbury Dr. S.E.
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA