Academic Freedom Lecture to feature N.Y. Times columnist


Jamelle Bouie, a columnist for The New York Times and political analyst for CBS News, will give the keynote address at the Faculty Senate’s 32nd annual Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture on Academic and Intellectual Freedom.

The free event will take place from 4-5:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Law School’s Honigman Auditorium in Hutchins Hall and will also be available via livestream.

Jamelle Bouie
Jamelle Bouie

Bouie’s lecture titled “Revisiting Du Bois and ‘The Propaganda of History’’’ will revisit the 1935 essay “The Propaganda of History” by W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent American civil rights activist, journalist and educator in the early 20th century.

The essay, which was published in Du Bois’ influential book “Black Reconstruction in America,” questioned the ways in which Reconstruction was being studied and taught in schools at the time. Bouie will discuss the essay’s relevance to contemporary battles over education and culture. 

Prior to joining The New York Times, Bouie was the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine and a staff writer at The Daily Beast. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in political and social thought, and government, he held fellowships at The American Prospect and The Nation magazine.

His articles focus on civil rights, policy, history and how the past reveals itself in the present.

Other speakers at the event will include

  • Faculty Senate Chair Allen Liu, associate professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, School of Engineering.
  • Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
  • Rebecca Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished Professor of History in LSA, and professor of law in the Law School.
  • Silke-Maria Weineck, professor of German studies and comparative literature in LSA.

The annual lecture is named after former U-M faculty members Chandler Davis, Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson. They were called to testify in 1954 before a panel of the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities. All three men invoked their constitutional rights and refused to answer questions about their political associations.

The men were suspended from the university. Markert, an assistant professor, was reinstated and eventually gained tenure. Davis, an instructor, and Nickerson, a tenured associate professor, were dismissed.

Several years later, a push was made for the Board of Regents to apologize for what happened. They did not, so the U-M faculty’s Senate Assembly passed a resolution in 1990 expressing deep regret for “the failure of the University Community to protect the values of intellectual freedom” in 1954 and established the annual lecture in honor of the three men.


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