There’s something irresistible about an anniversary. Maine’s bicentennial, the centennial of women’s suffrage, the upcoming 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence: All invite public commemoration. But what are we doing when we mark these anniversaries? Celebrating our past? Interrogating it? Something else entirely?
[caption id="attachment_16644" align="alignright" width="400"] Photo by Jen Sorkin[/caption]
On May 7, 2019, Maine author Monica Wood was awarded our 2019 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize.
In attendancewas Governor Janet Mills, whohonored Monica by delivering the event's opening remarks. Hear the Governor's remarks below.
Professor of English at Wellesley College, Timothy Peltason writes and teaches on nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American literature and Shakespeare. His essays on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, focuses on its relationship to Wilde’s life, its origins in earlier Victorian literature, and its extraordinary afterlife in 20th and 21st century literature and culture. He has also written a sequence of web-based commentaries on five plays by Shakespeare and other essays about the place of value judgments in contemporary academic criticism.
Declan Kiely is the Director of Exhibitions at New York Public Library where he oversees exhibitions at the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. He was most recently the Robert H. Taylor Curator at the Morgan Library and Museum and Head of its Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts. During this time he curated major exhibitions focusing on Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Abraham Lincoln.
“Violence & Belonging: The 14th Amendment and American Literature” is aLet’s Talk About It book and discussion series that addresses issues of diversity, identity, and inequality. For many Americans, the promises of citizenship fall short of reality, and the books in this series remind us that the more expansive version of American citizenship brought about by the Fourteenth Amendment was formed in the wake of violence and historical trauma.
Tune in to this new audio story and hear perspectives on Let’s Talk About It and “Violence & Belonging” from South Berwick Public Library and Norway Public Library, both of which have recently offered the series in their community.
Khaled Fahmy is a Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. With a BA in Economics, an MA in Political Science from AUC and a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, Fahmy taught for five years at Princeton University, then for eleven years at New York University before joining AUC in Sept 2010. He is currently the Shawwaf Visiting Professor in Modern Middle Eastern History at Harvard University. His research interests lie in the social and cultural history of modern Egypt. Specifically, he has been conducting research in the Egyptian National Archives for the past twenty years on such diverse topics as the history of law (Islamic shari’a), medicine and public hygiene. He is currently finishing a manuscript on the social and cultural history of Egypt in the 19th century as well as an edited book on the history of Egyptian law from the Mamluks to the present. Since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution, he has been a regular contributor to Egyptian and international media.
In this story, we visit Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council, their Civil Rights Team hosted Portland-based artist Pigeon for a discussion on identity, belonging, and street art.
A Muslim scholar, educator, and writer, he is the coordinator of multicultural student affairs at the University of Southern Maine and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College. His most recent work includes the 2013 book Homesick Mosque and Other Stories as well as the 2015 play The Poets and the Assassin, which offers historic and contemporary insights into the plight of women in Iran.