Public Engagement

KINDS OF QUESTIONS PROVOKED THROUGH ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ESFL’S COLLECTIONS

Following upon the assertion, above, that collections represent “arrangements of thought through time,” the ESFL’s co-directors imagine students and general public visitors examining the collections and being curious about the following topics:

  • How can a white guy teach about African American history? (Rachleff Collection, RC)
  • Why does this Chinese-American dude research African American history and write operas about Muhammad Ali? (Fred Ho Collection, FH)
  • How did these immigrants write books in English? (Sal Salerno Collection, SS)
  • How was South African apartheid like the Jim Crow era? (RC)
  • What is a radical jazz aesthetic? (FH)
  • Why was the N-word used to describe Italian immigrants? (SS)
  • What is “social history”? (all)
  • What do immigrants to the U.S. share over time? (all)
  • Why are there books about theatre, visual art and music in collections about labor, race and immigration? (all)

The ESFL co-directors hope to interest students and the general public, through programs keyed to the collections and through open house invitationals, in these and many other questions that visitors generate themselves.