Tressie McMillan Cottom, a renowned author, sociologist, and cultural critic, will give the 2023 Robert Smalls Annual Lecture for the University of South Carolina Department of African American Studies.
The lecture, titled “Troubling the Public During Troubling Times,” will take place on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 7 pm, in the Judge Karen J. Williams Courtroom at the USC School of Law.
"Good trouble is necessary trouble. It is the type of trouble that is needed to help move us closer to the ideals of justice and equality."
— Representative John Lewis
Dr. Cottom is a MacArthur Fellow, a New York Times Opinion Columnist, and a professor at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at UNC Chapel Hill. She is also the author of the award-winning book, "Thick: And Other Essays," which explores topics such as race, gender, politics, and social inequality. Her writing has been praised for its incisive analysis, personal storytelling, and fearless approach to addressing difficult topics.
The theme for the 2023 lecture is "Trouble” inspired by the late Congressman John Lewis, who often used the phrase “good trouble” to describe his own efforts to challenge unjust laws and fight for civil rights. In his own words, "Good trouble is necessary trouble. It is the type of trouble that is needed to help move us closer to the ideals of justice and equality."
“This year, African American Studies continues to honor the legacy of our great American hero, Robert Smalls during the annual Robert Smalls Lecture,” says April Langley, director of African American Studies. “With the theme of ‘Trouble,’ we reflect on the life and legacy of Robert Smalls who was born into slavery in Beaufort, South Carolina, and nicknamed ‘Trouble’ through his acts of bravery.’”
Dr. Cottom's lecture will address the theme by exploring the ways in which education can be a catalyst for change and social justice. Drawing on her research and personal experiences, she will offer insights and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing educators and students today. Her talk will challenge attendees to consider how they can make a positive impact in their communities and create meaningful change through education.
The lecture will be open to the public free of charge and will be live streamed online.
A book signing and small reception will follow the lecture.