Mark Auslander’s New Article: “Touching the Past”

Check out Mark Auslander‘s new article “Touching the Past: Materializing Time in Traumatic “Living History” Reenactments” in the open access journal Signs and Society.
Auslander’s article includes a discussion of the reenacted slave auction in the March 22, 1865 Charleston emancipation procession.

Many living history reenactors speak of “touching the past” in their performances. In nearly all instances, these profound experiences of intimate traffic with previous epochs and persons are brought about not through physical contact with historical artifacts but through deployments of replicas and props, including recently produced adornment, weaponry, vehicles, and tools. This essay explores the roles and functions of material reproductions or substitutes of historic artifacts in reenactment performances, and how these object-oriented practices often bring about powerful sensations of historic authenticity on the part of reenactors and their audiences. Auslander gives particular attention to the use of physical objects by those who seek to reenact traumatic events and experiences related to American histories of racial injustice, including experiences of slavery and Jim Crow racial violence.

Filed under: Charleston, SC, Emancipation, Jubilee Project

Lift Every Voice Project to Host National Forum to Address the Challenges of Preserving and Teaching the History of the Civil Rights Movement

Lift Every Voice will bring together experts and stakeholder communities to address the challenges of collecting, archiving, presenting, and teaching the history of the civil rights movement. The national forum, with support from The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will take place on May 14-18, 2013, in Columbia, South Carolina, and will result in a collaborative model and action agenda for libraries, museums, archives, and stakeholder communities which will be disseminated nationally.
There is a pressing need to collect and preserve South Carolina’s untold civil rights stories before a generation passes into history. South Carolina played a significant but largely unknown role in the civil rights movement. Time is of the essence in documenting the stories of elderly participants. Moreover, it is critical to help the next generation appreciate the struggles and the triumphs of this extraordinary period in our nation’s history.
The four-day national forum will bring together librarians, archivists, digital media specialists, members of the civil rights community, scholars, and educators to:
a. Develop a collaborative model for collecting, preserving, presenting, and teaching oral histories and artifacts related to the civil rights movement.
b. Develop a plan for utilizing the collaborative model to collect, preserve, present, and teach civil rights oral histories and artifacts in South Carolina.
c. Further develop the network of civil rights librarians, archivists, historians and other scholars, and educators in South Carolina to facilitate collection, preservation, presentation, and teaching of oral histories and artifacts.
At the end of the forum we will disseminate the collaborative model and information about the South Carolina plan to the civil rights and scholarly communities, including a national media release, a panel at a major national conference, and announcements through national e-networks for scholars, educators, and civil rights organizations.
The Lift Every Voice project will place learners at the center and support engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.

For more information, visit Lift Every Voice’s website.

Filed under: Civil Rights Movement, Desegregation, Jubilee Project, Upcoming Events

Charleston-area Clergy Establish Charleston Area Justice Ministry, Area’s Largest Interfaith Community Action in Decades


The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) is a Charleston-area interfaith community group aimed at at bringing people together across denominational lines.  The group gatherings (the schedule for which can be found here) are gaining steam, with the last event hosting over 600 people.  To read the full Post and Courier article, click here.

Filed under: Charleston, SC, Jubilee Project, Upcoming Events

Dr. Luci Moreira’s Textbook Wins National Award

The American Organization of Teachers of Portuguese has selected Professor Luci Moreira’s co-authored textbook Ponto de Encontro as the 2013 “Best Book” for the Portuguese language instruction in the U.S.


CofC Participates in International Reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Thus begins Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”  On April 16, 2013, fifty years after its authorship, thousands around the world participated in an international commemoration of the letter.  Sponsored by Birmingham Public Library, the event included public readings in over two hundred libraries, museums, parks, churches, etc., around the world.  At the College of Charleston, the reading took place at Cougar Mall in front of a crowd of about a hundred and fifty.  For more information about the international event as a whole, please visit the Birmingham Public Library’s blog.

Filed under: Charleston, SC, Civil Rights Movement, Jubilee Project

“Israel-Palestine: What the Media Leave Out”

On Friday, April 19, at 3PM in ECTR 116, award winning journalist and media critic Alison Weir will discuss what American news media are not revealing about Israel-Palestine. The press is arguably the most powerful institution in the United States; it provides the kinds of information that Americans use to form their conclusions about issues and candidates seeking election. Weir will detail the media’s filtering that prevents the public from receiving the full facts on Israel-Palestine; she will also discuss the systemic and structural causes of the situation.


Veteran journalist Alison Weir is the Executive Director of “If Americans Knew,” a non-profit organization that specializes in statistical and factual information on Israel-Palestine and the media’s coverage of the region. Weir is also President of the Council for the National Interest, a group founded 19 years ago by congressmen and ambassadors to work for foreign policies not dominated by special interests. Weir’s speeches have included briefings on Capitol Hill and to the National Press Club and presentations at the Asia Media Summit in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. She has lectured at several universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley and the Naval Postgraduate Institute. Weir is generally considered the foremost analyst on media coverage of Israel-Palestine. Her articles have appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, CounterPunchThe New Intifada, Censored 2005, and the Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. She narrated the award-winning documentary Occupation 101.


Alison Weir’s appearance is co-sponsored by the College of Charleston’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Office of Institutional Diversity, and Charleston Peace One Day. The lecture will be followed by an informal reception.


The Color in Freedom Experience–An Interactive Journey Along the Underground Railroad

The color in freedom experience workshops are designed to use arts integration and a positive, nontraditional methodology to talk about slavery.  They will feature age-specific information and use the arts as a tool to engage in conversations about slavery. The workshop’s facilitators are History scholars and experts on the topic of slavery and the Underground Railroad who will utilize their decades of expertise to educate and inform the audience.  Workshops will address each audience at its level.

All workshops will be held at the College of Charleston Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, Charleston.  The workshops will take place on May 3 and 4.  For more information, call Sheila Harrell-Roye: (843) 953-7613 or visit the Avery Center’s website.

Filed under: Charleston, SC, Jubilee Project, Slavery, U.S. Civil War, Upcoming Events

Dr. Antonio Aiello Enjoys Two Publications

Professor Antonio Aiello’s following two studies have just been published:
1) “El discurso narrativo de Zoé Valdés: Una escritura metaficcional”: Dossier Valdés (Invited Editor, Aiello) Ediciones La gota de agua, Philadelphia, PA.

2) “Virgilio Piñera a la sombra de los clásicos: una  dramaturgia precursora del teatro posmoderno” en Celebrando a Virgilio Piñera, Plaza Editorial.