Teaching in the Wake of Charlottesville

The letter below was sent to MLA members on 17 August 2017.

Dear MLA members,

At times like these we need community. My colleagues at the MLA and I share your revulsion at the horrific events that took place in Virginia last weekend. We share your dismay over much in the public exchange about them. And we share your grief for the students, faculty, and staff at the University of Virginia, the people of Charlottesville, and all victims of the violence and hatred incited by racism and white supremacism.

As you address in your classrooms the issues that arise from these events, you have many resources at your disposal, including JSTOR’s “Charlottesville Syllabus: Readings on the History of Hate in America,” a VICE documentary about Charlottesville, and the many materials circulating under the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum and elsewhere. You may also want to take a look at the essays and resources in Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War, which we’ve made available as a free download in the MLA bookstore.

The events in Charlottesville did not come from nowhere: MLA members and other scholars have long documented the role of racial injustice, white supremacy, and violence in American life, and we urge you to use social media and Humanities Commons to share historical, critical, and other resources as you find them. (If you’re posting syllabi or lesson plans to CORE, you can add the tag CharlottesvilleCurriculum to help your colleagues find them.)

Please let me know if there are other ways we can support you as you support your students.


Paula Krebs

Executive Director