The Freedom Project at Marquette University, 2012-13

 Soon the Marquette community will embark on another academic year.  What makes this year particularly exciting is the history department’s Freedom Project.  See the following announcement by James Marten, Professor, Department Chair, and Director of the Freedom Project.

The History Department and many colleagues in other departments will spend the 2012-2013 academic year reflecting on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which began, of course, in 2011 and will continue through 2015. We’ve chosen to focus this year on Emancipation and the meanings Americans have applied to the concept of freedom from the sectional conflict through the present.  We’re calling our commemoration “The Freedom Project at Marquette University.”  Although the department will host a number of lectures, symposia, and other events, our friends in the Department of Performing Arts, the Haggerty Museum, the Raynor Memorial Library, the Law School, the Office of Student Development, and the English Department have also organized events and performances and exhibits that explore constructions of freedom over the years and across political, racial, and geographical divides. 

From lectures by Pulitzer-prize winning historians Eric Foner and Steven Hahn to the musical “Urinetown” and the drama “A Doll’s House,” from exhibits of contemporary photographers to a reading of banned books, from a talk on the Underground Railroad to a one-man show based African American spirituals, and from a symposium on domestic surveillance after the Second World War to what freedom meant at Marquette during the tumultuous 1960s, the purpose of the Freedom Project is less to provide a “history” of the Civil War or even of freedom than it is to make all of us think about what Freedom means to us. 

History Department-sponsored events kick off with the Klement Lecture on September 27, just a few days after the 150th anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which began the long road to freedom for several million American slaves.  The speaker this year is Steve Hahn, Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, who will be speaking on “The Dimensions of Freedom: Slave Emancipation, Indian Peoples, and the Projects of the New American State”

There are many other events, and you can see the full calendar here.  You can also sign up to follow the Freedom Project on Twitter ( to receive periodic reminders of lectures, performances, and exhibits as well as historic nuggets from “This Week in Freedom.” 

The Freedom Project logo was designed by Nick Schroeder of MU’s Office of Marketing and Communication. The image featured on the logo was originally cast as an anti-slavery medallion by the English firm Wedgwood in 1787.  Eventually, “Am I Not a Man and a Brother” appeared on cameos, bracelets, pins, and even pipes and snuffboxes.  The movements to end the slave trade and to abolish slavery later used the image in numerous books and broadsides.  The version used here appeared in an 1837 broadside of John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem “Our Countrymen in Chains,” which highlighted the bitter irony of the existence of “SLAVES—crouching on the very plains, Where rolled the storm of Freedom’s war!” The illustration is one of the iconic images of the movement to abolish slavery.

All events are open to the general public; information for buying tickets to the Department of Performing Arts’ productions can be found at  

Major funding for the Freedom Project History Department’s Klement and Casper Lecture Funds, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Office of the Provost, the Raynor Memorial Libraries, and Mellon Fund in the Way-Klingler College of Arts and Sciences.


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