Author discusses slavery and the modern world

Courtesy of Above is the cover of Grandin’s book, “The Empire of Necessity,” which he discussed at Union last week as part of this term’s Minerva course.

On Monday, Sept. 28, author Greg Grandin visited Union to discuss chattel slavery and the making of the modern world.

Grandin was brought to the campus through the efforts of professors Teresa Meade and Eshragh Motahar for their course, “Inequality: Economic and Social Perspectives.”

Grandin’s visit was not limited to Meade and Motahar’s class, though.

The campus community was invited to listen to Grandin speak during common lunch on Henry Kissinger, attend a dinner and discussion with the author, then sit in during a lecture he gave on chattel slavery and the making of the modern world.

Grandin’s first lecture, which was on his new book, “Kissinger’s Shadow,” dove into the character of one of America’s most controversial policy makers.

Grandin said he hoped to bring a “new, more accurate light” onto Kissinger and explore the man’s everlasting effects on the world.

“Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are invoking his image now,” Grandin explained.

Grandin used his book and talk at Union to dispel some of the myths that have arisen surrounding Kissinger in the past few decades.

After the discussion and pizza lunch, the campus was offered a more personal experience with the author.

A dinner and discussion was held in Green House, during which time students could discuss history, economics and inequality with the award-winning author if they so chose.

While eating chicken tacos and ziti, students and professors conversed with Grandin on chattel slavery and its existence.

They noted its capitalist roots, Henry Ford’s dream of implanting the “American way” in the Amazon and American policy handling in Latin America.

Grandin’s busy day concluded with his talk in Nott Memorial on his book, “The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World.”

The book and his talk were focused on Capt. Amasa Delano, a New England seal hunter, and his encounter with a Spanish slave ship carrying slaves in 1805.

Though Delano believed that the slaves were under control of the crew, it turned out the slaves had rebelled and were only appearing to still be enslaved to fool the curious captain.

The story of the captain and his final realization of the ruse of the West Africans speaks to the larger idea of the transformation from discrimination based upon class to discrimination based on race.

While Grandin was the first of the “Inequality” course’s speakers, he is not the last one set to speak to students in the course and the larger campus community this term.

Meade and Motahar have seven other speakers lined up to come to Union. The topics include the transformation of marriage, the 20th-century labor struggle and climate change.

The goal of the class and its guest lecturers, according to the course description, is to better understand the broad concepts of inequality and how it could be solved.

The lectures are held every Monday night in the Nott at 7 p.m.Linda Boff, Class of 1983, has been named the new chief marketing officer of General Electric. Prior to the promotion, Boff served as executive director of global brand marketing.

Boff’s predecessor, Beth Comstock, said in a statement that she considers Boff to be “one of the most innovative forward-thinking marketers in the business.” Comstock was recently promoted to vice chair of GE.

Boff looks to market GE as a “digital industrial company,” which she believes “is what it has become” over the last several years, according to Forbes.

Boff, who has been with GE since 2003, is very excited for herself and her team to tackle the new tasks at hand, she stated during her interview with Forbes. She looks forward to being able to “continue to partner with” and “lean on” the many different marketing agencies she has worked with, through GE, in the past.

The Forbes piece on Boff also stated that before her time with GE, Boff served as the CMO at NBC’s iVillage and held major marketing positions with Citigroup and the American Museum of Natural History.

Boff’s LinkedIn page indicates that she was on the women’s lacrosse team, served as a DJ for WRUC and acted as Photo Editor for the Concordiensis while she was a stduent at Union. She was a political science and psychology double-major.


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