The faculty of the Department of History at Georgia Southern is
dismayed that some students recently chose to express their intolerance
towards Jennine Capó Crucet and her ideas by burning her book on Wednesday, Oct 9. Book
burning is at odds with our values of reasoned discourse, civil
treatment of others, and openness towards ideas and experiences we might
not share. Historically, book burning has been associated with
intolerant and anti-democratic regimes. In the context of our diverse
campus community, this symbolically potent action, combined with
students’ online harassment of Capó Crucet, who is Latina, reads as an
act of intimidation. It represents a rejection of our core values,
which include respect for others, reasoned intellectual inquiry, and an
appreciation for our shared bonds. We condemn this behavior in the
strongest of terms.
As part of the
department’s response, faculty will
hold a teach-in on “Book-Burning, Censorship & Free Speech in
Historical Perspective” in IAB 1020 on the Statesboro campus at 5.30 on
Tuesday, October 15. This represents an invitation to learn about why
book burning has become such a recognizable symbol of intolerance around
the world, and to foster a dialogue about what happened on our campus.
We encourage all members of the Georgia Southern community to join us.
Two projects related to the local history of Savannah and the Georgia Southern History Department are being honored by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council and the USG Chancellor’s Office. Susan Earl, Tom Kohler and Professor Robert Batchelor have received the 2019 Award for Excellence in Local History Advocacy for the “Waddie Welcome Archive—Savannah Signs Project.” (https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/savannah-signs/) The archive contains over 700 pictures of hand-painted African-American signs from Savannah, GA dating from the 1970’s to the present. A Georgia Humanities Council grant made digitization possible. Autumn Johnson (Special Collections, Henderson Library) and photographer Emily Earl (Sulfur Studios) helped enable recent public exhibitions. Retired professor of history John Duncan will also be receiving an award for his book The Showy Town of Savannah: The Story of the Architect William Jay (Mercer University Press, 2019), co-authored with Sandra Lee Underwood, a retired professor from St. Marys in Maryland.
The city of Savannah has posted a new link on its Historical Documents & Research website that features the work of Georgia Southern University students. The web app, named Savannah’s Maritime Cultural Landscape, includes a map which features sites related to maritime history across the Savannah and the coastal area. The project uses data gathered during Assistant Professor of History Dr. Kurt Knoerl’s 2019 spring semester maritime archaeology class. Each student identified an element of Savannah’s maritime past, recorded its exact location, conducted background research and photographed the site. Some are well known such as the Tybee Island Lighthouse while others, like the small oyster bateau Miss Helen in front of a local seafood shop, are more obscure. Georgia Southern University senior Alyssa Saldivar used the data from these 21 sites in her summer independent study. Working with Dr. Knoerl and a grant from Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Ms. Saldivar edited the application which helps tourists find and learn about Savannah’s maritime past. Visitors to the site can see a map of all sites or select themes such as anchors and lighthouses. Savannah’s Maritime Cultural Landscape is an excellent example of GSU students learning and engaging with the community while providing a benefit for Savannah’s residents and visitors.
History Department creates exhibit on display on Armstrong Campus.
Kurt Knoerl explains it as “a new exhibit on Armstrong State University’s student body from 1937 to 2018, which is in Lane Library on the Armstrong campus. Students from the History Department’s 2018 American Material Culture and Digital History classes selected objects and images from Lane Library’s collections that they felt best represented Armstrong’s students over eight decades. They also wrote the exhibit text and photo captions now on display.”
exhibit includes class rings, clothing, sorority pins, text books, and
other items from daily life as well as a seven foot banner of photos
organized by decades from the 1930s to the 2000s.”
Please stop by to see the exhibit the next time you are on the Armstrong campus! I found it fascinating.