Conversations in Race, Indigeneity and Transnational Migration Episode #1 Matthew Frye Jacobson

“All scholarship has a civic mission, at least in a country that is trying to be a democracy, and I think the civic mission of Ethnic Studies as a pursuit…is to equip people to have more meaningful kinds of public debate. I think we would be having a better public debate on any number of questions from the ‘war on terror’ to immigration policy to the kind of deindustrialization or post-industrialization economic climate. All of those things would be better understood and more usefully debated and discussed if we had a deeper sense of the historicity of our present.”
Professor Matthew Frye Jacobson

Matthew Frye Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies & History

This is the first episode in a series of conversations that will examine the history of the study of Indigeneity and the Ethnicity, Race and Migration program at Yale University over the last twenty years. Featuring interviews with faculty and those who have contributed groundbreaking work to the discipline of Ethnic Studies, each episode will map the relationship between individual scholarship and the broader changes within the field, especially at Yale.

In our inaugural episode we speak with Professor Matthew Frye Jacobson, the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History. Jacobson describes the recent developments in the Ethnicity, Race and Migration program including the rising interest and support over the last few years. From changes in Yale’s tenure system, national attention towards the criminal justice system and the staggering challenges of the contemporary refugee crisis, Jacobson provides sharp insight into the ways student activism and broader political changes have resonated within Yale.

Throughout this conversation we discuss what is required of a 21st century education at a major university, the role of senior faculty, and the methodologies that make up a robust Ethnic Studies program. Along the way Jacobson highlights the importance of a historiography and a pedagogy that is engaged with a broader understanding of the relationship between culture and politics.

You can listen here and subscribe on iTunes.

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