Cultural Postmortem 2020

Authored on:

Jan 13, 2021
Headshot of Chris Merrill

How can artists and scholars help the nation contend with the peril in which we find ourselves—starting with our own campuses? 

The 2020 US presidential race was one of the most politically and ideologically divisive and contentious races that we’ve ever seen. As the events of January 6, 2021 have illustrated, the nation remains divided: political leaders at the highest level are challenging election results without evidence or a basis in reality and a largely white group of insurrectionists tried to overthrow the US government.

Three research centers, located in three different states that also have a history of divided state government, are bringing together three artist-scholars to reflect on the social and political fall-out from the 2020 election. Together they will reflect on ways the cultural and creative disciplines—critical race studies, history, literature, cross-cultural creative work—can help us to process what has happened and guide us in imagining and building paths forward.

Join Chris Merrill, Director of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program; Ruth Ellen Kocher, Professor of English and Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Malinda Maynor Lowery, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for this conversation.