'Antislavery in Britain and America: William Wilberforce and Frederick Douglass'
This lecture compares the two most famous abolitionists of the nineteenth century: the wealthy British MP, William Wilberforce, and the African American, Frederick Douglass, who had escaped from slavery. Wilberforce's manuscript diaries (almost a million words in length) are being edited here at Leicester, and we teach Wilberforce and Douglass side-by-side. This is a study in contrasts, but also a comparison of two renowned orators and moral celebrities: Wilberforce was depicted in many portraits and etchings, and Douglass was the most photographed person in nineteenth-century America.
'Reflections on the Trump presidency and the state of American politics today'
Donald Trump was amongst the most disruptive of presidents as he broke norms and violated conventional ethical standards at every turn. Yet, in November 2020 he was nearly re-elected as president. So, what can we learn from his time in office and the public response to his four years at the helm? This talk will examine both the substance and symbolism of the Trump presidency to gain insight into state of the American politics today. It will look at the fractures in American society that pre-date Trump's emergence on the political scene, but which were exacerbated many times over by his language and actions.