CALENDAR LISTINGS FOR Tuesday, February
Vermont Humanities: "Why Does Our Complex Humanity Matter?" with Meg Mott (via Zoom): Democracy, said Alexis de Tocqueville, highlighted "the natural grandeur of man." Unlike aristocratic systems, which meted out grandeur to the ruling elites, democracy afforded citizens "poetry, eloquence, memory, beauty of wit, the fires of imagination, depth of thought." Southern plantations were the exception. Like aristocrats of Europe, enslavers denied natural grandeur to enslaved people. Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists disrupted the slaveholders' claims through speeches/essays that shone with eloquence and wit. They expressed their natural grandeur, giving themselves/their brethren dignity and respect. In the 21st century, there is less talk about human complexity and more emphasis on systemic oppression. Critics of identity politics point to the reduction of human beings to a single category of race/ethnicity. Proponents claim that identity politics undermines white hegemony, allowing more dignity for marginalized groups. We'll consider advantages/disadvantages of highlighting group identity in electoral politics. Is there still a place for eloquence and wit in our political strategies?. 7 p.m. Free. Zoom. Advance registration required: www.vermonthumanities.org/event/civics-complex-humanity.