History News Wrap-Up

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

On Wednesday, September 9, UVA Clubs hosted a webinar featuring Professor Kevin Gaines called “Understanding the Global Protests: The African American Freedom Struggle and the World.” Professor Neeti Nair's book, Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India, was quoted and discussed in an op-ed published by Faizur Rahman in Daily O titled ‘Are Indian Muslims victims of their “victim mindset”?’ This week the Washington Post published an article by Professor Liz Varon, “Trump’s 2020 playbook is coming straight from Southern enslavers.” In the article Varon traces connections between the current framing of the 2020 election by President Trump and the rhetoric deployed by southern enslavers against abolitionists. She writes, “In short, the slavery debates established an enduring pattern in American politics, one in which reformers have been met by hate and violence, perpetrated by reactionaries who cynically tell the American people that the only way to dispel hate and violence is by rejecting reform that challenges their power and privilege. That pattern has been sustained by White Americans’ stubborn incapacity to learn the lesson the abolitionists began preaching so long ago: that racism is the root of America’s culture of violence, and only racial justice can bring true fidelity to the law, social coherence and moral order.” The Washington Post also featured an article by Gillet Gardner Rosenblith, a 2020 graduate of our PhD program and current postdoctoral research associate with the Memory Project at the Democracy Initiative. In her article, “Covid-19 has exposed the consequences of decades of bad public housing policy,” Rosenblith considers the enduring impact of public housing policies including the 1996 One Strike Act and efforts to transform public housing into mixed income developments on public housing residents navigating the current pandemic and public health crisis. She writes, “Rather than recognizing tenants’ power and enabling community control, politicians’ focus became the “empowerment” of individual tenants through the increasingly popular political ideas of personal responsibility or self-sufficiency. In practical terms, this shift — which also permeated education, health care and welfare policies — resulted in Democratic and Republican politicians alike touting empowerment as a key policy goal for public housing reform but seeing it as something that they had no responsibility for facilitating. Instead, they could withdraw resources from public housing under the auspices of helping residents to gain self-sufficiency.” The College of Arts and Sciences featured an article, “How Did We Get Here?” UVA Podcast Explores the Rise of Illiberalism,” on Will Hitchcock and his new podcast, Democracy in Danger. A collaboration with Siva Vaidhyanathan, the podcast can be found on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher and on the Democracy in Danger website.