LECTURE: Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Profess or History and Professor of African-American Studies, Harvard University
Tacky's Revolt and the Coromantee Archipelago A New Cartography of Slave Revolt"
Thursday, January 30th, 4.15 PM, L01 Carson Hall
Visiting Instructor in History and African and African American Studies,2007-08
Interview by Lisa Ding ’08
What classes are you teaching at Dartmouth?
I'm teaching the two-course Africa survey (HIST 5.1 in fall and 66 in winter), a first-year seminar in AAAS on Pan-Africanism in winter, and the History of South Africa (HIST 67) in the spring.
Where are you from, originally?
Originally I'm from the edge of Detroit, Michigan—a suburb called Southfield, but we were within a stone's throw of the famous Eight Mile Road.
Where did you attend college and graduate school?
I was an undergrad at Eastern Michigan University and have attended Michigan State (M.A.) and Rutgers Universities (Ph.D. forthcoming) for graduate school.
What did you major in?
As an undergraduate, I was a history/biochem dual major until I realized that, by taking the chemistry as a minor, I could get out on time. So I took it as a minor.
What made you interested in teaching?
My family is full of educators; I'm part of the fifth known generation. My sister teaches 8th grade back in Michigan. So teaching is part of the family business. But I chose to teach college because I like dealing with adults.
How did you discover your interest in African Studies?
The interest in African Studies came about because of my parents' residence in southern Africa before I was born and a few gifted teachers in college and graduate school. I didn't make the full switch to African history until graduate school!
What are your specific areas of research?
My work concerns the creation of boundaries and spaces out of rural land on the South African “frontier.” I look at surveying, cartography, and dispossession, which are very relevant for setting the terms of today's debate over land restitution.
What have you liked about working at Dartmouth?
Being at Dartmouth means being connected to colleagues who are engaged in first-rate research and who share my free-associating interest in absorbing knowledge. The Department is everything I've been told to hope a department can be: supportive, friendly, and responsive. I'm also delighted at the facilities and the proximity of everything I need. I've also liked that we have Alistair (in fact that's the first thing I told my sister about after I visited campus the first time).
What’s your favorite thing about teaching a class?
My favorite part of teaching a class is when we veer off the “plan” during a lecture or discussion segment because students have comments and questions about something else that's related. It's times like that when I get to learn, too, and when we all get to interact not as professor and students, but as discussants. Students here learn to think independently, and that's led to some great exchanges in my class.
What do you think of Alistair? :)
I adore Alistair. He's an essential part of my weekdays, and sometimes I come down to the third floor just to visit. In return for daily scratching he gives me warm, fuzzy, tail-wagging greetings, so we all win!
Last Updated: 10/15/08