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When the Archives Don’t Speak Easily

The Department of History is pleased to welcome Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, professor of history at Indiana University, as the 2022 Pierson Lecture speaker.

“When the Archives Don’t Easily Speak: The Life and Times of Julia Chinn”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
3:30–5:00 p.m.
Gerlinger Alumni Lounge, Gerlinger Hall

Talk begins at 3:30 p.m, immediately followed by reception. Free and open to the public.

History and Social Justice

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers earned her doctorate in U.S. History from Rutgers University, specializing in African American History and Women’s History. A historian of Black Women, her research focuses on race, gender, power, and freedom in the Old South.

Dr. Myers has been the recipient of several awards for her scholarship, including a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies; the 2012 Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians; and the 2011 Anna Julia Cooper-C.L.R. James Book Prize from the National Council for Black Studies.

Professor Myers’ social justice work was recognized with the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Building Bridges Award” from Indiana University in 2017. That work has taken many forms, on and off campus. In 2015 she was the lead organizer of “It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race, From Ferguson to Bloomington,” a Black Lives Matter teach-in, and in 2017 she organized a Town Hall titled, “Violent Intersections: Women of Color in the Age of Trump.” This led to the creation of IU’s “Social Justice in America Series,” events designed to bring town and gown together each year to have “tough talks on tough topics.” In 2020, the SJAS theme was “Defending Democracy: Confronting Voter Suppression and White Supremacy in the New Millennium.”

Myers is regularly interviewed by the media about racial justice matters. In 2018 she appeared on PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff to talk about unconscious bias, and in 2020 she was invited to discuss Juneteenth and equity issues on “Fox and Friends.” She has been one of the co-anchors of Indiana’s award-winning WFHB African American radio show, “Bring It On!” since 2015 and has published op-eds and been cited in various publications including the Louisville Courier-Journal, Washington Post, Indianapolis Star, and the Bloomington Herald-Times.

Her first book, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston, was published by UNC Press in 2011. Her second monograph, The Vice President’s Black Wife: The Untold Life of Julia Chinn, will be released by Ferris & Ferris Books in 2023. Myers is an Associate Editor at the Journal of American History and is the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Pierson Lecture Tradition

The Annual Pierson Lecture is a Department of History tradition that spans back to 1993, when it was founded to honor Stan and Joan Pierson. The Piersons were both exemplary citizens of the community, dedicated to history and education as proven by their distinguished records of intellectual accomplishment and community involvement. This lecture series brings distinguished scholars to the University of Oregon, so that they may share their work in alignment with the Piersons’ interests in cultural, intellectual, and political life.

Learn more about past lectures and speakers.