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January lecture series to feature leading scholar on slavery
MOUNT VERNON—“The study of controversial issues can help us refine our own understanding of what is really true,” according to Dr. Robert Paquette. Dr. Paquette will be the Albert Sidney Johnson lecturer for the spring semester at Brewton-Parker College January 23, 2007, at 7 p.m. in Saliba Chapel on the Mount Vernon campus.
His lecture is entitled “Slavery, Political Correctness, and the Search for Truth.”
“Dr. Paquette is a leading historian of slavery, and he has most recently been embroiled in disputes regarding attacks on academic integrity,” said Dr. H. Lee Cheek Jr., chair of the college’s Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “For example, he was one of the first members of the American professoriate to question the academic credentials of Ward Churchill last year.”
Currently, Dr. Paquette is Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. He received his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1982, and teaches courses and conducts research in the Old South, colonial Cuba, slave societies, the Caribbean, cross-cultural history, and colonial Latin America.
Dr. Paquette’s Brewton-Parker lecture will outline his current research, which examines the slave revolt that erupted in the sugar-producing region of territorial Louisiana, a few dozen miles upriver from New Orleans, in January 1811. The talk will piece together the surviving evidence to explore the origin of the revolt, its leadership, and the roles of slaves, as well as attempt to answer questions related to this revealing act of collective violence. Dr. Paquette will also discuss how slavery is debated within the American academy today, and the problems facing the study of controversial topics in our current academic climate.
Dr. Paquette’s first book, Sugar is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict between Empires over Slavery in Cuba, earned the 1992 Elsa Goveia Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians, was selected as a University Press Book for Public Libraries, and was nominated for Columbia University’s Bancroft Prize. His many books and publications also include a slavery reader from Oxford University Press.
The Albert Sidney Johnson Lecture Series is named for a prominent South Georgian and Brewton-Parker alumnus and faculty member. His son, Albert Sidney Johnson Jr., is a political science professor and vice president emeritus at the college. Johnson Sr. was born February 2, 1898, in Ailey, Ga., the oldest child of Mr. and Mrs. William Alexander Johnson. After graduating from Brewton-Parker Institute in 1917, he attended Mercer University, where he earned a law degree in 1922, and a bachelor of arts degree in 1926. He served as Brewton-Parker’s Athletic Director from January 1923 to 1925, and again from 1927 until 1934.
Johnson was also a teacher of history and political science at Brewton-Parker. He served two terms as a representative in the Georgia State Legislature, and was, at the time of his death, campaigning for a third term. Johnson was chair of the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees in the House. He passed away in Augusta, Ga., on June 2, 1934, at the age of 36 from complications following an appendectomy, and was buried in the Johnson family cemetery in Longpond.
“We decided to inaugurate a lecture series that would allow us to reach out to our student body and local area by providing insight on the most pressing issues of our day,” said Dr. Cheek. “All too often, we think of colleges as ‘ivory towers,’ removed from the reality of the world. This lecture series will demonstrate how central academics are to our everyday life, our faith and our roles as citizens.”
The public is cordially invited to the second Albert Sidney Johnson Lecture Series event. Admission is free, and a reception will follow the lecture.