On October 13, students in English Teacher Enithie Hunter’s V Form English class, 1619 Matters: Slavery and American literature, had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Stacy Patton ’96 during a research seminar on the long lasting impacts that slavery has had on modern society. Patton argued against corporal punishment within the black community; she also explained how many racist phenomena within society originated in 1619 with the slave trade.
That morning, the class was given a lecture on the background of Patton’s research, where she drew connections between corporal punishment and the psychological effects such practices have on children who are verbally or physically abused by their parents, especially for those who are members of the African-American community. Later in the afternoon, all of the classes listened to Patton’s explanation on how digital media can be used so that one’s work can reach larger audiences. “She taught us how to edit videos and create online digital tools, such as timeline creators, and [use] maps digitally to better convey our ideas,” explained Kelly Lu ’23.
“After listening to Patton’s seminars, I was able to use data, numerical data, [and] scientific reasoning more effectively to supplement my arguments and convince people that might initially disagree upon my ideas,” said Debanshi Misra ’23. The talk’s discussion of the usage of data was quite engaging; for instance,, the seminar helped spark Lu’s interest in digital media. Patton explained that she stopped assigning essays in the university courses she teaches; rather, she assigns video or digital media assignments so that society can adapt towards showing their understanding on a digital platform instead of the more traditional and almost old-fashioned method of writing essays. Lu believes that we as a generation have moved beyond the more traditional method of writing essays, so she is eager to learn the usage of digital media to better showcase her understanding of certain topics.
Both Misra and Lu agreed that their experiences in Patton’s seminar helped further enhance their understanding in the 1619 Matters class. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, the class reading, explores slavery in the United States and the long-lasting impact that the institution has had on contemporary Americansociety. In class, Hunter constantly mentions that history is fluid, so events that occurred in the past will continue to affect society even in the current day. “The seminar serves as an opportunity for me to gain a stronger realization that a change is necessary in our current society, as Patton provided a really modern context that is more relatable than past historical events. Patton’s analyses [of] corporal punishment helps me vividly visualize the impact slavery has on today’s society,” Misra said.
At the end of the seminar, both Lu and Misra claimed that “it was very lovely meeting Patton.” They were glad to be given the opportunity to have such exposure and will use the information learnt from this seminar for their future studies in the class.