Skip to Main Content

Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities 2023-24: Defending the Humanities Event

Defending the Humanities with Barbara Smith and Paul Ortiz

Defending the Humanities
A Conversation with Hess Scholars Paul Ortiz and Barbara Smith

Thursday, November 30th at 2:15 PM
Woody Tanger Auditorium, Brooklyn College Library

Join us on November 30th for a conversation with Paul Ortiz, Robert L. Hess Scholar in Residence 2024, and Barbara Smith, Hess Scholar 2023.They will talk about their contributions to the humanities, discuss current political attacks on the humanities, and map out strategies to defend the humanities.

Paul OrtizBrooklyn College’s 2023-24 Hess Scholar-in-Residence, is Professor of History and Director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. He is the author of several books including, African American and Latinx History of the United States (20018) and Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 (2005); co-editor of People Power: History, Organizing and Larry Goodwyn’s Democratic Vision in the Twenty-First Century (2021); and Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South (2014).  He has published essays in The American Historical Review, Latino StudiesCultural Dynamics, The Oral History Review, Kalfou, the Florida Historical Quarterly, and many other journals. He has been interviewed by Agencia De Noticias Del Estado Mexicano, ARD German Radio and Television, Newsweek, Telemundo, The New Yorker, MoneyGeek, The Guardian, Washington Post, BBC, Hong Kong Daily Apple, The New York Times, and other media on the histories of social movements and immigration among other topics. Prof. Ortiz is a former president of the Oral History Association. The Society of American Archivists bestowed its Diversity Award on the UF’s Proctor Oral History Program. In 2013, Paul Ortiz received the César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award, from the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO. Prof. Ortiz a is past president of the United Faculty of Florida-UF (FEA-AFL-CIO), the union that represents tenured and non-tenure track faculty at UF.

Works by Prof. Paul Ortiz available here.

Barbara Smith was Brooklyn College’s 2022-23 Robert L. Hess Scholar in Residence. She is an author, activist, and independent scholar who has played a groundbreaking role in opening up a national cultural and political dialogue about the intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender. She has edited three major collections about Black women: Conditions: Five, The Black Women’s Issue (with Lorraine Bethel, 1979); All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (with Gloria T. Hull and Patricia Bell Scott, 1982); and Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983; 2023). She is the co-author with Elly Bulkin and Minnie Bruce Pratt of Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism (1984) and the general editor of The Reader’s Companion to U. S. Women’s History with Wilma Mankiller, Gwendolyn Mink, Marysa Navarro, and Gloria Steinem (1998). A collection of her essays, The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom was published by Rutgers University Press in 1998 and 2023. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith was published by SUNY Press in 2014 and received the Lambda Literary Award and the Publishing Triangle Award. She was cofounder and publisher until 1995 of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for women of color. She resides in Albany, New York and served two terms as a member of the Albany Common Council from 2006 to 2013.

Works by Barbara Smith available here.