Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series, Dean’s Lecture Series in the Humanities Oct. 17 and Oct. 18

Monday, October 15, 2018

The UNCW College of Arts and Sciences is hosting the Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series and Dean’s Lecture Series in the Humanities on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, respectively.

Farah Peterson, a legal historian who focuses on statutory interpretation and an associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, will deliver the 2018 Sherman Lecture, “Monuments and Memory: How the Law Writes American History.” The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Warwick Center.                                                                                                        

Jaki Shelton GreenNorth Carolina Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, will give a presentation at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Cultural Arts Building Mainstage Theatre, Room 1069 as part of the Dean’s Lecture Series in the Humanities. She will discuss “The Poet as Documentarian, Historian and Agitator.”
Both events are free and open to the public.

The Sherman Lecture will examine how American history is written into American law. Yet the law also writes our history. When a judge on the Supreme Court writes a consequential opinion, that opinion often rests on a story about who we are as a people, as American citizens. Legal opinions thus stand as public memorials to a shared past.

“Dr. Peterson’s research offers a unique contribution to current debates over the role, power and place of monuments in American history,” said Lynn Wood Mollenauer, chair and associate professor in the Department of History. “Faculty at UNCW believe that it is vitally important to share with the wider community the work of researchers and scholars who are interrogating topics that are central to our understanding of our current world.”

Peterson holds a Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history and J.D. from Yale University. After law school, Peterson clerked for Associate Justice Stephen Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Guido Calabresi at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is currently working on a book, The Most Dangerous Branch: Law and Legislation in Republican America, based on her doctoral dissertation.

In addition, the Department of History will present a panel discussion on Oct. 18 featuring renowned scholars and legal professionals, who will provide a commentary on the themes raised in Dr. Peterson’s lecture and raise additional points from their own unique perspectives. The panel discussion will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (620 S. College Road). UNCW students and faculty are welcome to attend. Registration is required.

The Sherman Emerging Scholar Lecture Series was endowed by Phillip Sherman and Ann Sherman-Skiba in honor of their parents, Virginia and Derrick Sherman, lifelong learners and friends of the UNCW Department of History. The series provides an opportunity for young scholars to share research that connects history with current world challenges or events.

The Dean’s Lecture Series in the Humanities will host Jaki Shelton Green on Oct. 18, the first African American and third woman to receive the honor of the poet laureate title. In 2003, she received the North Carolina Award for Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor for significant contributions to the state and nation in fine art, literature, public service and science. She was inducted into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named the first Piedmont Laureate in 2009.

Green, who teaches documentary poetry at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, has been active in North Carolina’s literary and teaching community for more than 40 years. She has penned eight books of poetry, co-edited two poetry anthologies and written one play. She is also the owner of SistaWRITE, an organization that provides writing retreats and travel excursions for women writers. Registration is not required.

-- Venita Jenkins and Logan Matthews ’19