School of Arts and Sciences Spring Speaker Series

In March, the School of Arts and Sciences held its 2022 Spring Speaker Series, consisting of two virtual panel discussions on memories and American foundings.

Now, you may watch each discussion in its entirety.

The Work of Memory

Watch a robust discussion among specialists in the memory of slavery, colonialism, and the Holocaust. This first event provided a conceptual grounding for the second discussion.

What, practically, does it mean to memorialize, remember, and learn from history? How do we memorialize the traumas and injustices of the past in our present day and in various settings, such as museums and memorial sites, public statuary, and programs sponsored by institutions responsible for those wrongs?

The invited panelists reflected on current scholarly approaches to cultural memory and group identity, on the different modes of memorializing slavery (collective, public, cultural, and official), and on the steps one university took to pursue memorialization and reconciliation for its own role in the injustice of slavery.

Panelists

  • Michael Rothberg, 1939 Society Chair in Holocaust studies, UCLA
  • Anna Lucia Araujo, professor of history, Howard University
  • Elsa Barraza Mendoza, assistant professor of history, Middlebury College

Moderator

Kenyse G. Lyons, clinical assistant professor of Italian, The Catholic University of America

American Foundings

Watch a vibrant discussion on how Americans today do — and should — remember the history, meaning, and legacy of the American Revolution and the Constitution of 1787.

How can we best understand the principles and figures of the founding period? What were their accomplishments and shortcomings? How have Americans since that time been inspired by their handiwork — and sometimes inspired to criticize and amend it?

As the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches, our invited speakers reflected on the history behind the headlines to help us understand why a history once understood as the bedrock of national identity has become such a source of division.

Panelists

  • Jack Rakove, Coe Professor of history and American studies emeritus, Stanford University
  • Jamelle Bouie, opinion columnist, New York Times
  • Kate Masur, professor of history, Northwestern University

Moderator

Stephen West, associate professor of history, The Catholic University of America

About this speaker series

How do we remember? What power do our memories of the past have to unite and divide us in the present? As Americans and people around the world grapple with these questions, The Catholic University of America hosted a pair of panel discussions featuring prominent academics and public intellectuals to address the topic: "How Should We Remember? History, Meaning, and Community."

Speakers discussed how we memorialize the traumas and injustices of the past in our present day, and how, in the case of the United States, a founding period once celebrated as the nation's origin story has been reassessed for its shortcomings, exclusions, and unfinished work.

This speaker series is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences through the generosity of its Board of Visitors. It is co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement.