Living Color investigates the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible trait influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. Nina G. Jablonski begins with the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, explaining how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe. She explores the relationship between melanin pigment and sunlight, and examines the consequences of rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices that can create mismatches between our skin color and our environment. This book explains why skin color has come to be a biological trait with great social meaning— a product of evolution perceived by culture. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, how negative stereotypes about dark skin developed and have played out through history—including being a basis for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes about skin color differ in the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.
A radio documentary special by Urbana University Laboratory High School students.
Growing up in Champaign as one of a handful of Jewish children in town, Ruth Kuhn Youngerman enjoyed friendships with people from a variety of faiths. The Jewish community was small and close-knit, led by Jewish storeowners such as the Sterns, Lowensterns and Kuhns who helped develop commerce in downtown Champaign and Urbana.
Yet Jewish residents were integrated and accepted in the community, said Youngerman, who was born in 1914, the same year that the first Jewish temple was built at State and Clark streets. When her grandfather, Kuhn’s Department Store founder Joseph Kuhn, died, they called him the best “Christian” in the community, Youngerman said. “In other words, they were saying he was like them, that they (Jews) were good people.”
Urbana University High School students interviewed Youngerman and 13 other leaders of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish community for a new radio documentary, The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community.
Two hundred thousand black soldiers were sent to Europe to fight in World War I. Historian Adriane Lentz-Smith says that experience gave many black people their first taste of life outside of the American racial system. She says it led them to imagine a different world, one that they worked to make real when they returned home. In a program from the archives, we’ll look at the ways that World War I shaped the civil rights movement in the United States. That’s the subject of Adriane Lentz-Smith’s book "Freedom Struggles."
This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, January 14, 2010, 10 am
White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
With Aaron Bobrow-Strain, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Politics, Whitman College)
With Jennifer F. Hamer, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of African American Studies, University of Illinois)
With Isabel Wilkerson (Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction, Boston University; 1994 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Feature Writing)
With Cecilia Menjivar, Ph.D. (the Cowden Distinguished Professor, Shool of Social and Family Dynamics Program, Arizona State University)
With James T. Patterson, Ph.D. (the Ford Foundation Professor of History Emeritus, Brown University)
With Danielle L. McGuire, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Wayne State University)
With Thomas C. Holt, Ph.D. (James Westfall Thompson Distinguished Service Professor of American and African American History, University of Chicago)