Given the priority placed on teaching at a liberal arts institution like Lafayette, and the commitment to engaged learning, collaborative interaction, and mentoring of students, it is fitting that the topic selected for the 2019 Colloquium is Teaching Shakespeare and Race. While acknowledging that race lies at the very origins and center of our nation’s history, we recognize that its shaping influence has resulted in our national efforts to continually negotiate necessary and demanding cultural and intellectual terrain. We understand that if we are to graduate students prepared for the complexities of citizenship, careers, and a host of professional and personal relationships beyond college, the acquisition of racial literacy is not an option but a responsibility. By focusing specifically on teaching race, by way of Shakespeare’s cultural preeminence, the colloquium invites dialogue around subjects ranging from pedagogic practices that faculty might employ in effective teaching, student innovation in examining knowledge about race, to considering questions of institutional evolution in the face of changing social demands. Through robust exchange with the Lafayette community of students, faculty, and staff the colloquium seeks to advance our abilities to sustain healthy, powerful discourse that promotes learning in a productive, enriching campus climate.
Professor Ian Smith