Two History & Literature seminars will be held on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio in 2021. Room and board are available, as is airport shuttle service between the Ashland University campus and the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Participants may take the seminar for in-service hours or opt to earn graduate credit.

The Civil Rights Movement in American History and Literature

Sunday, June 27, 2021 to Friday, July 2, 2021

Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio

When James Baldwin declared that “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” he captured a central truth about the Civil Rights Movement, a crusade that is often evoked as if it were a coherent and unified era rather than a complex and multifaceted undertaking. In this seminar, we will critically examine the fascinating historical documents and literary texts that both shaped and reflected the Civil Rights Movement. On the history “side,” we will focus on issues such as the long arc of the freedom struggle, the indispensable role of ordinary heroes–women and men overlooked by traditional narrative histories–and the fraught but fascinating relationship between nonviolent strategies and Black Power. On the literary “side” we will consider how polemicists and protest writers contributed to the struggle directly; how poets and playwrights found beauty amidst the pain of racial inequality; and why contemporary writers have returned to the Civil Rights era as a resonant source of creative inspiration. Writers may include James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ernest Gaines, and others. Through our shared readings of key historical and literary texts, we will examine the complicated and often contradictory urges, goals, and experiences that inform the Civil Rights Movement.


David F. Krugler (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) and Kathleen Pfeiffer (Oakland University)

Violence in American History and Literature

Sunday, July 11, 2021 to Friday, July 16, 2021

Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio

Violence has been a constant of American life since the first encounter. From early Native-American captivity narratives, vigilantism to lynching, from agrarian violence to urban riots and labor conflict, the course examines the causes of the mayhem including ethnic and religious hatred as well as race and gender prejudice. Topics are developed and analyzed that receive only cursory treatment in survey courses. Topics may include domestic violence, westerns, revenge, “justified” violence, and the literary depiction of violence. Authors may include William Faulkner, Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Louise Erdrich, Eudora Welty, Audrey Lorde, Stephen Crane, and Herman Melville.


Suzanne Hunter Brown (Dartmouth University) and Dan Monroe (Millikin University)


Audit (25 contact hours): $605

Graduate Credit (2 semester hours): $1210

Room & Board

$475 per course

Accommodations are available in Ashland University residence halls. Includes all meals from dinner on Sunday through lunch on Friday. Shuttle service between the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the AU campus is also included.

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