Personally Speaking Series to Feature Four CLAS Authors

Personally Speaking Series Four Authors

The middle class meltdown, the transformative effect of Apostle Paul upon Christianity, President Lincoln’s relationship with the U.S. colored troops and portrayals of slavery in children’s literature are provocative topics being featured in the 2014-15 Personally Speaking Series.

Four researchers from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will reveal the stories behind their books during the lecture series, co-sponsored by the college and J. Murrey Atkins Library. Each talk is free and starts at 6:30 p.m., with a reception following.

The 2014-15 speakers are:

  • Scott Fitzgerald, author of “Middle Class Meltdown in America: Causes, Consequences and Remedies,” Thursday, Sept. 18, UNC Charlotte Center City
  • James Tabor, “Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity,” Tuesday, Nov. 11, UNC Charlotte Center City
  • John David Smith, “Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops,” Tuesday, Feb. 10, UNC Charlotte Center City
  • Paula Connolly, “Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790-2010,” Tuesday, March 24,  J. Murrey Atkins Library

“We offer this series as a way to engage the community in conversations about relevant topics considered in books written by our faculty,” said Nancy Gutierrez, CLAS dean. “This is a way for us to connect with the community, and it also is a way to share knowledge and spark discussion.”

The first author in the series, Scott Fitzgerald, is associate professor, associate chair and director of graduate studies in the Department of Sociology. His areas of interest include economic inequality, social movements, religion and the nation state. His book, co-authored with Kevin Leicht, professor, departmental chair and director of the Iowa Social Science Research Center at the University of Iowa, traces the crumbling of the middle class in America and explores solutions to restoring middle-class prosperity.

James Tabor is chair and professor in the Department of Religious Studies. He has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada and Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan. His book is an examination of the earliest years of Christianity, revealing competing ideas about the significance of Jesus and his teachings and showing how the man called St. Paul shaped Christianity as it is known today.

John David Smith is the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History in the Department of History. His teaching interests include Southern history (especially the Civil War and Reconstruction, Abraham Lincoln and slavery and emancipation), racial thought and Imperial Germany. His book assesses the hardships under which the men of the U.S. colored troops served, including the multiple forms of discrimination from so-called friends and foes alike. He examines the broad meaning of Lincoln’s military emancipation project and its place in African American historical memory.

Paula Connolly is associate professor in the Department of English. Her areas of interest include images of slavery in American literature, multiculturalism in children’s literature, visual semiotics and children’s literature and film and popular culture. Her book is the first comprehensive study of slavery in children’s literature and shows how antebellum racial images have been re-created or revised for new generations. This study ultimately offers a record of the racial mythmaking of the United States from the nation’s beginning to the present day.