Dear American Studies Alumni,
At our graduation celebration for American Studies students in the spring, I shared one of my favorite quotes: “Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind.” These are Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks’s wise words, ones I first encountered three decades ago in an unforgettable Black literature course I took as a college sophomore.
Her counsel captures one important department response to the ongoing uncertainties, anxieties, and suffering — the whirlwind — of our pandemic present: blooming. Inspiring teaching and learning, a prize-winning senior research paper, coveted postdoctoral fellowships, new faculty books, a COVID oral history project, keynote addresses, media appearances, mentoring, service, and thriving alumni.
Thank you for helping to make our department and community bloom!