Events Calendar

Why It's Hard To Talk About The N-Word

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Virtual Event on Zoom
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor

Western’s special advisors on anti-racism, Nicole Kaniki and Bertha Garcia, invite students, faculty, staff and alumni to attend a virtual presentation by renowned speaker and historian Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor.

Pryor will lead a thoughtful and history-backed examination of one of the most divisive words in the English language: the N-word. Drawing from personal experience, she explains how reflecting on our points of encounter with the word can help promote productive discussions and, ultimately, create a framework that reshapes education around the complicated history of racism in North America.

About Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor

Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor specializes in 19th-century U.S. history and race. Her first book, Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship before the Civil War, is a social history of black activists who, long before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, fought against segregation on public vehicles. Her essay, “The Etymology of [the N-word]: Resistance, Language, and the Politics of Freedom in the Antebellum North,” won the Ralph D. Gray Prize for the best article of 2016 in the Journal of the Early Republic. Her next project, inspired by the article as well as her teaching at Smith College, is a historical and pedagogical study of the n-word framed, in part, by her experience as a biracial woman in the United States. In the classroom, Pryor is interested in questions of citizenship, race and racism and the history of U.S. slavery, looking carefully at how enslaved people's histories are remembered and who remembers them. Her classes are designed to help students make connections between the anti-blackness of the past and in the present. Pryor’s March 2020 TED talk on the n-word has more than 1.8 million views.

Nicole Kaniki and Bertha Garcia, Western’s Special Advisor’s on anti-racism
Anti-Racism Working Group - Special Advisors on Anti-racism
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