Friday, Jun 16, 2017, 6:30 PM

Jennifer Stollman


Turning Apathy into Empathy: Building Communities Across a Divided American South

Imagining solidarity is not new to the American South. From slavery to Jim Crow to the modern Civil Rights Movement, many Americans imagined and worked exhaustively to create solidarity, community, and justice. Nevertheless, historic legacies as well as contemporary events have led many southerners to believe that solidarity across racial and other differences is impossible. They argue that fatigue, retrenchment, and righteous anger create chasms. This presentation will describe effective techniques, strategies, and positionalities designed to bridge those chasms. I will show how analytical and emotional approaches, combined with an unwavering commitment to the idea that equity can be achieved, allow many paths toward equity and community in the American South.

Jennifer Stollman earned her combined doctorate in history and cultural anthropology at Michigan State and the University of Michigan. Her fields include American intellectual history, the transatlantic slave trade and African-American history, women’s history, Native-American history, American religious history, labor history, the history of American medicine, cultural and critical theory, critical race and feminist theory, and the histories of memory and narratives on the body. Dedicated to the liberal arts, Stollman spent over twenty years teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students while conducting research in Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, and Colorado. After being appointed Academic Director at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi five years ago, she has developed and presented anti-bias training, conducted crisis management, and facilitated dialogues on inequity in the Deep South and across the United States in high schools and higher education, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, juvenile justice systems, professional organizations, corporations, and non-profit organizations dedicated to health and wellness, and social and economic justice. Utilizing her academic and activist experience, Stollman has developed unique motivational and non-threatening techniques designed to reduce the stress, fracturing, and silence caused by discriminatory thoughts, behaviors, policies, and systems and to encourage the valuing of diverse individuals and perspectives. She has published widely and has presented her work across the United States and beyond.