This week, the Atlantic Studies Podcasts of Note blog offers numerous episodes on Atlantic History as scholars continue pushing through these dark times of pandemic. This week, episodes focus on the Pilgrims, colonial Mexico, diaspora, memory, and capitalism.
As well, the Journal of the Plague Year continues in a week when Texas freezes and the denialism on Climate Change reaches a newly absurd heat within political discourse. As the pandemic persists in the United States, billions are being spent on convincing people to take vaccines, as millions still plead to receive their jabs. A defining moment for the pandemic arrives, an event now pinched between a giant wave and the unpredictable future of variants, quickening the pace of anxiety, precarity, and fear.
The media has shifted in the last few weeks of the pandemic, portraying teachers as much more unwilling to perform their jobs than properly assessing their personal risks. Many parents, drained from a year inside with their children and often away from their professions, also offer that it is now time for some normalcy, increasing the risk to be carried on the backs of educators across the country, when a vaccine, for many, is only weeks away.
The debate turns upon whether a school or classroom can be safe in this pandemic. It is a debate a year old, and the answer still remains highly subjective among epidemiologists, increasingly politicized in the public sphere, and consequently prejudiced. In some states, educators are being asked to return to classrooms in exchange for moving up on the vaccine line, where administrators are exchanging that teachers must bear the greater risk of infection to receive the vaccine before the general population. Precarity wins in these moments, when teachers know, especially in certain states and many cities, that the safety measures will not be followed if it means dipping into budgets and quick execution of protocols.
Educators, for years buying their own school supplies for their students in many counties, are now expected to believe that in conservative states the funds will be applied to help create correct safety procedures. The idea emerging in the media machine is that Teacher’s Unions are stubborn and politicizing the issue of returning to in-person learning. When, more appropriately, the Teacher’s Unions understand that in some states, cities, and counties, the funding will correctly be used to create safety procedures, while in other states, counties, and cities, where schools have been struggling for decades to pry funds and implementations from the hands of politicians, teachers will continue being placed in the sacrificial space of trading risk to their lives for a space in the vaccine line.
Be strong in the abnormal.
Wear masks (Double). Wash hands (Often). Get the Shots When You Can. Keep distance.
Atlantic Studies Podcasts of Note:
1) New Books Network – John G. Turner – They Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty
2) The Latin American History Podcast – “Fugitive Freedom” – An Interview with William Taylor
3) New Books Network – Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vasquez – Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature
4) Ben Franklin’s World – Ibrahima Seck – “Whitney Plantation Museum”
5) New Books Network – Daniel B. Rood – The Reinvention of Atlantic Slavery: Technology, Labor, Race, and Capitalism in the Greater Caribbean
This Date in History:
2/21/1965 - Malcom X Assassinated
2/21/1933 – Nina Simone Born
2/20/1805 – Angelina Grimke Born
2/17/1838 – Weenen Massacre
Remembrance of Past Podcasts:
This week, BBC History Hour offered an episode on the Black Panthers, and aspects of the Black Atlantic.
NPR’s Fresh Air offered an episode on “The Story of ‘Black Radical’ William Monroe Trotter.”