American Studies Speakers' Series



Dr. Ariel Beaujot

March 1st, 2019

Location: Room 41, UCC Building, 4:00pm

Ariel Beaujot

Comfortable Lies, Uncomfortable Truths: Public History, Private Memory and Race in 21st Century North America

Hear, Here, a place-based oral history project in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, launched in the spring of 2015 during a rash of shootings of black men by police across America. This talk explores the local context of race panic in a former sundown town—or a city that has purposely maintained itself as white—after two black narrators shared stories of their experiences with racism. The talk explores the role of public historians doing social justice work in modern America, the issues that some publics have with such work, and ways in which to deal with controversies and criticisms.

Dr. Emily Dufton

October 25, 2018

Location: LWH 2270C, 12:30pm


The Pot-Law Pendulem: America's Past Problems with Cannabis Legalization and Advice for Canada's Future

For many in the United States, widespread cannabis legalization seems certain. Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana since 2012, and 29 states have laws permitting medical use. But America battled over access to cannabis in the past, too. In the 1970s, grassroots activists pushed for decriminalization in a dozen states, and activists thought legalization was certain then. But when rates of adolescent marijuana use skyrocketed, a nationwide anti-marijuana movement formed in response, overturning decriminalization laws and paving the way for the "Just Say No" 1980s. It took decades for pro-cannabis activists to rebound and for laws to change once again, but that doesn't mean that the pendulum of public opinion on marijuana has stopped swinging. A new anti-legalization campaign has formed in recent years, and the battle over who can use marijuana, and why, continues to be waged.

As Canada legalizes marijuana on the federal level, Canadians can learn useful lessons from America's past problems with cannabis. This talk will give the history of America's 50-year battle over legalization, with ideas and advice for how Canada can best handle this substance in the future."




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