What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
In his keynote address for the Faculty Book Celebration, Walter Johnson will tell the story of how he came to the topic of his most recent book, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States (Basic Books, 2020). From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, American history has been made in St. Louis. And as Walter Johnson shows in this searing book, the city exemplifies how imperialism, racism, and capitalism have persistently entwined to corrupt the nation’s past. More details to come.
Additional Washington University faculty speakers to be announced in early 2021.
About the keynote speaker
Walter Johnson grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and is a member of the Rock Bridge High School Hall of Fame (2006). His prize-winning books, Soul by Soul: Life Inside in the Antebellum Slave Market (1999) and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Mississippi Valley's Cotton Kingdom (2013), were published by Harvard University Press. His autobiographical essay, “Guns in the Family,” was included the 2019 edition of Best American Essays; it was originally published in the Boston Review, of which Johnson is a contributing editor. The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States was published in the spring of 2020. Johnson is a founding member of the Commonwealth Project, which brings together academics, artists, and activists in an effort to imagine, foster, and support revolutionary social change, beginning in St. Louis.
Headline image: “St. Louis Riverfront.” Photo by Ted Engler / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0