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April ALR presentations focus on Reconstruction


The New Mexico State University Academy for Learning in Retirement (ALR) will host four Zoom presentations in April by Dr. Jamie Bronstein, a professor in NMSU’s Department of History. Her topic will be “Reconstruction: America’s Missed Opportunity.” 

Bronstein earned a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University in 1996, when she was hired by NMSU.

Bronstein is the author of five books, most recently “Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of American Inequality” (2016), and of numerous articles, including most recently "Big Trouble in Little Texas: The Chicano Movement in Southern New Mexico" (New Mexico Historical Review, Fall 2020). 

In 2017, she attended the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar "What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?" hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., at Harvard University, and she has since added African American history to her teaching repertoire.

Zoom sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. Audience members may log in via Zoom at 10 a.m.

Bronstein’s ALR presentations will be:

  • Tuesday, April 13: “Reconstruction in Myth, Memory and History.” This lecture will give a brief overview of what we mean by Reconstruction, and the way in which the period was remembered, mythologized in popular culture (as in the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation”) and written about by historians from the Dunning School of thought (circa 1900-30) forward.
  • Thursday, April 15: “Forty Acres to Sharecropping: The Economics of Reconstruction.” This lecture will explore the shortcomings of post-Civil War provisions for the formerly enslaved in the realms of landownership and education, the rise of sharecropping and similarities to and differences from slavery and the impact on wealth inequality then and since.
  • Tuesday, April 20: “Citizenship and Terrorism: The Politics of Reconstruction.” This lecture will focus on the meaning of the Civil War Amendments (13th, 14th and 15th) to the U.S. Constitution, the accomplishments of integrated postwar legislatures and the violent backlash by white Americans who felt threatened by these changes.
  • Thursday, April 22 – “The Jim Crow South and the Price of Failure.” This lecture will assess Southern or “Redeemer” Reconstruction, the Jim Crow South, lynching and the long-term consequences of the failure of Reconstruction to confront issues of racial inequality that, as a result, inflect our present.

Audience members may register for the presentations at dacc.nmsu.edu/alr, clicking on Memberships and Presentations and then on Registration for Programs and Presentations. Registration before 5.

Attendees may enroll as an ALR member for $3 and register for individual sessions for $4 per session or enroll in individual sessions for $5 per session.

To purchase viewing rights to previous ALR presentations, visit nmsu.edu/alr for a viewing registration form.  ALR encourages audience members to register before or by 5:00 pm on the days before presentations.  It will e-mail Zoom links to registrants for each session during the evening before the presentation. 

ALR is a nonprofit started in 1992 by former NMSU President Gerald Thomas, along with retired deans Thomas Gale, Virginia Higbie, Flavia McCormick and others, including former professor and teacher Clarence Fielder.