Friday, July 16, 2021

TOPIC 2:  Listening to Our Many Pasts: The History and Myths of Modern Poverty

Guests on Friday, July 16

Gunja SenGupta, Professor of History, Brooklyn College & Graduate Center, CUNY
Randall Westbrook, Instructor – Sammartino School of Education, Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey
Ira Katznelson, Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
Moderator: Jamie Warren

Schedule (in outline)
Friday, July 16 — 9am – 2pm

9:009:10Greetings and check-in with Faculty Fellows
9:1010:10Presentation by Gunja SenGupta
10:1010:15Short break
10:1511:15Presentation by Randall Westbrook
11:3012:30Presentation by Ira Katznelson
12:301:00Lunch Break
1:002:00Round table discussion with all participants


Our focus this Friday will be to grapple with and unpack commonly held myths about the historical roots of modern poverty. What are the decisive historical forces that have shaped American poverty today? SenGupta, Westbrook, and Katznelson will bring their expertise to this question. With Westbrook we will focus on one of DuBois’s central texts. DuBois offers a rich example of a scholar who purposefully wove his training as a social scientist with his commitment to creative and expressive prose. On Tuesday we will continue to think about the topic together, through a screening of Fanny Lou Hammer’s testimony and through discussion. Institute co-directors Warren and Bishop will lead a pedagogy workshop where we explore the use of poverty-related historical documents in our classes.

Key Questions

  • How do slavery and colonialism relate to poverty?
  • What are the central myths about history and slavery and its relation to modern poverty?
  • How can we connect history to our students’ current experiences of obligation to help their family, friends, and neighbors?
  • How can we as educators allow the impoverished voices of the past to “speak” in our classrooms?
  • How do artistic and literary constructions of home, place, and displacement resonate with these histories?

Topic 2 –  Required Readings and Resources

Required readings will be available on our website and @ the “Required Readings Folder.”


Topic 2 – Additional Readings and Resources Folder

> Click the above link to go to the Institute Folder for Additional Readings and navigate to Topic 2 for an evolving list of readings and resources.




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *