Nov 2: Dr. Charles Thompson (E&H '79) Lecture
Charles Thompson is a 1979 grad of Emory & Henry, and is currently a Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He also is the director of Duke's Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship Program as well as the undergraduate program at the Center for Documentary Studies. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Culture from UNC-Chapel Hill. An author and filmmaker, Thompson’s latest works are the 2010 film Brother Towns, and the 2011 book Spirits of Just Men. He has just completed a book and companion website: Border Odyssey:Traveling the US/Mexico Divide.
Dr. Thompson, former farmer-turned-activist, photographer, Steinbeck-inspired author, and Duke professor, talks about his most recent book Border Odyssey, a quixotic drive toward understanding the U.S.-Mexico divide: all 1,969 miles. In his own words: “I needed to go to the place where countless innocent people had been kicked, cussed, spit on, arrested, detained, trafficked, and killed, all for the sake of working in the U.S. for a pittance. I wanted to go where it seemed our fears had superseded our sense of humanity.... It would become clear… the border, la frontera, was more multifaceted and profound than anything we could have invented about it from afar.” It is Thompson who makes the trip, sometimes with comedy, misadventure and hope, and with his wife who keeps him sane – all the while pressing on with what he calls the useful fiction of a map. To commemorate the Day of the Dead in Mexico, Spanish students set up an altar outside the BOV in tribute to the migrants who have died in their attempt to come to the U.S.
He has been invited to speak at Emory & Henry College about his book Border Odyssey. He was invited by Dr. Alma Ramirez-Trujillo of the Emory & Henry Foreign Languages Department as part of the Hispanic Film and Immigration class.