This category contains 10 posts

The Threat of Colin Kaepernick

The Threat of Colin Kaepernick by: Thabiti Lewis (WSU Vancouver)   “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”― James Baldwin     Last week marked the 15th anniversary of 911, and America’s most popular sport, football, was supposed to showcase American patriotism.  But the San … Continue reading


BOOKS THAT COOK: The Making of a Modern Literary Meal. Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. New York: New York University Press. 2014.   Books that Cook is a savory concoction of prose, poetics, and recipes that narrate U.S. history and memory through the optic of the cookbook since the eighteenth century. Through … Continue reading


BECOMING BELAFONTE: Black Artist, Public Radical. By Judith Smith. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2014.   Harry Belafonte was well known to Americans in the fifties and sixties, both as a musician and as a Hollywood film star. And for more than a half-century, Belafonte has made headlines for his activism on behalf of diverse … Continue reading


THE FOLLOWING ESSAY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 23, 2015 AND APPEARS IN FULL AT PROCESS: A BLOG FOR AMERICAN HISTORY: FERGUSON, USA: A HISTORIAN’S COLLISION WITH HISTORY, PART ONE Stefan M. Bradley is the director of African American Studies Program and an associate professor of history at Saint Louis University. He is the author of Harlem … Continue reading

Keisha N. Blain: Teaching Black Internationalism and Americanah

As an historian of ‘black internationalism,’ I am constantly thinking of new ways to explain the type of work I do, especially to students who encounter the term for the first time. After reading Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah, I decided to revise my black internationalism syllabus (one of my ‘dream courses’). When the opportunity arises to teach it, I will … Continue reading

Mark Edmundson’s WHY TEACH? Forum: Lee Bebout

Strategic Alliances and Strange Bedfellows: A Response to Edmundson’s Why Teach? I began teaching because I wanted to impact students’ lives through literature.  Recently, that answer has not seemed to be enough.  US higher education is in a state of crisis.  The humanities are under siege.  Through the rapid corporatization of academia, we are asked, compelled, … Continue reading

Mark Edmundson’s WHY TEACH? Forum: Stephen Brauer

Transforming Not Them but Us: Response to Why Teach? by Stephen Brauer   Mark Edmundson calls education “soul-making,” repeatedly employing religious rhetoric to impart the power of education to transform the individual who embraces it. While that’s terrific for those who see it on those terms, it is overly idealistic to imagine that most do or … Continue reading

Mark Edmundson’s WHY TEACH? Forum: Elizabeth Hutchinson

After reading reviews of Mark Edmundson’s book, Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education (Bloomsbury, 2013), AMSJ’s editorial staff decided to begin a forum for our readers with four different critiques of the book. We were especially interested in discussing the seismic shifts going on in teaching the humanities in colleges and universities around the country. We selected four … Continue reading

On Teaching: Mourning Teaching

I box the last stack of books, bag the last pile of handouts, probe the back of desk drawers for the last remnant of a daily teaching life. I clean the desk, wipe shelves, arrange chairs, force myself not to get all weepy, close the door of my office, and turn in the key. I … Continue reading

Commentary: Race, Class, Labor, and the (Not So) Incognito Controversy

I’ve long appreciated how athletics mirror and shape broader social relations (Consider, for instance, C.L.R. James’s Beyond a Boundary, which famously approached cricket as a metonym for colonialism.)  From this standpoint, the recent NFL controversy involving Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and Dolphins guard Richie Incognito presents an entanglement of racial, class, gender, and work dynamics. … Continue reading

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