Voting and Democracy in US History, Literature, and Culture | Newberry

Voting and Democracy in US History, Literature, and Culture

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

9:30am - 12:30pm

The Newberry Library

Dr. Gregory Laski, United States Air Force Academy, 2021-22 Newberry Fellow
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Voting occupies a paradoxical position in the United States. The franchise is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for democracy. And yet, getting to and maintaining this minimal condition has been–and remains–an ongoing struggle in the United States. Focusing on the long nineteenth century in particular, but with regular forward glances, we’ll deploy an interdisciplinary American Studies approach to explore the vicissitudes of voting through a mix of historical, literary/cultural, legal, and theoretical materials. Featured texts may include the Constitution; excerpts from African American political fiction (e.g., Frances E. W. Harper’s Iola Leroy, Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition); and the writings of racist white writers (e.g., Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman), whose legacy unfortunately continues to haunt our world. We’ll attend as well to our present and collective future by looking at recent bi-partisan efforts that recommend, among other things, reforms to the franchise as a way to repair our democratic culture (e.g., Our Common Purpose).

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all NTC seminars opens Friday, September 10, 2021 at 8 a.m. (Central Time). Registration instructions and pricing information can be found here. Once open, registration for this seminar will be available through this link. For more information about NTC purchases, please contact Cate Harriman, Teacher & Student Programs Coordinator, at harrimanc@newberry.org.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for the seminars, as well as instructions for accessing virtual seminars, will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff at teacherprograms@newberry.org.