Advisors & Scholars
EDWARD AYERS: In July 2007, Edward L. Ayers assumed the presidency of the University of Richmond. Previously Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he began teaching in 1980, Ayers was named the National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2003. A historian of the American South, Ayers has written and edited ten books. The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America won the Prize for distinguished writing in American history and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492. A pioneer in digital history, Ayers created the award-winning website The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War; we will turn to him as we build our own. We will also turn to him often on issues of Southern history and slavery, and mine his expertise on Virginia society. Ayers has received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities, served as a Fulbright professor in the Netherlands, and been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
IRA BERLIN has written extensively on the history of slavery. His first book, Slaves Without Masters; The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (1975) won the best first book prize awarded by the National Historical Society. In 1999, his study of African-American life between 1619 and 1819, entitled Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in Mainland North America was awarded the Bancroft Prize for the best book in American history by Columbia University among numerous other awards. In 2002, Generations of Captivity: A History of Slaves in the United States was awarded the Albert Beveridge Prize by the American Historical Association and the Ansfield Wolf Award. Berlin has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Arco Foundation, the National Historical Publication and Records Commission, and the University of Maryland. He was Bi-Centennial Professor (Fulbright) at Centre de Recherche sur l’Histoire des Etats-Unis, Universite Paris VII (Institut D’Anglais Charles V), Cardozo Professor of History at Yale University, and Mellon Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois. In 2002, he was inaugurated as president of the Organization of American Historians and in 2004 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berlin’s expertise in the history of slavery will support our examination of the roots of anti-miscegenation.
WALTER DELLINGER is Chair of the Appellate Practice at O’Melveny and is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University and heads the Harvard/O’Melveny Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Clinic. He is on leave from his professorship at Duke Law School. Dellinger served from 1993 until 1996 as Assistant Attorney General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). He was acting Solicitor General for the 1996-97 Term of the Supreme Court. During that time, he argued nine cases before the Court, the most by any Solicitor General in more than 20 years. He has published articles on constitutional issues for scholarly journals including the Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, and the Duke Law Journal, and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the New Republic and the London Times. He has been a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Belgium and has given lectures to university faculties in Florence, Siena, Nuremberg, Copenhagen, Leiden, Utrecht, Tilburg, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing. He has testified more than 25 times before committees of Congress.
ARIEL DORFMAN is a Chilean novelist, playwright, essayist, and journalist, Dorfman’s family moved to the U.S. shortly after his birth, settling in Chile in 1954. He attended and was later a professor at the Univ. of Chile. Forced into exile following the Chilean military coup of 1973, he has divided his time between Santiago and the United States since the restoration (1990) of democracy in his homeland. Since 1985 he has taught at Duke University. Dorfman has written powerful fiction often dealing with the horrors of tyranny and, in later works, the trials of exile. Taking retribution and reconciliation as its themes, his best-known work, the play Death and the Maiden (1992), deals with political torture and its aftereffects. Ariel Dorfman will support our interest in depicting a true story with intense dramatic elements. He shares with the Lovings a history of exile, and he will help us reach a truthful understanding of this painful reality.
NOAH FELDMAN: As an academic and public intellectual, Noah Feldman is concerned with issues at the intersection of religion and politics. He was the Bemis Professor of International Law at New York University; he join the Harvard Law faculty in 2006. Feldman is a leading expert in many aspects of constitutional law, particularly law and religion, constitutional design and the history of legal theory; in addition to his teaching and research, Feldman is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine and other news outlets on topics ranging from the separation of church and state to American foreign policy. He served as a law-clerk under Associate Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, and has a long-standing interest in questions of church and state and the role of religion both in government and in private life. As such, he will advise us on the intersection of law and religion and the way advocates on all sides use God and the Bible for their purposes. Feldman is a Constitutional scholar and will also support us on legal matters and challenges related to Loving v. Virginia.
WILLIAM FERRIS is a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Folklore Curriculum. He is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and is widely recognized as a leader in Southern studies, African-American music and folklore. He is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to his role at NEH, Ferris served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years. Ferris will offer a wealth of knowledge regarding story telling in the South especially as it relates to African American history. Ferris has written and edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most of which deal with African-American music and other folklore representing the Mississippi Delta. He co-edited the Pulitzer Prize nominee Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, which contains entries on every aspect of Southern culture and is widely recognized as a major reference work linking popular, folk, and academic cultures. We look forward to working with Bill in many capacities, from scoring both films to the turning of Southern history and culture into a compelling documentary film.
HENRY LOUIS GATES, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. He is one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, has long had a role in bringing African American history to the forefront. He’s the author of several books including The Future of the Race with Cornel West. His two-part documentary African American Lives used genealogy and genetic science to determine the familial roots of famous African Americans including Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou. He discovered his own mixed-race roots in the process. He will advise us, both on and off-camera on culture and anthropology of black and mixed-race society.
GRACE ELIZABETH HALE is Professor of History and American Studies at the University of Virginia where she teaches US cultural history and the history of the US South. She is the author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (Vintage, 1999) and A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (Oxford University Press, 2011). Her current project, Shooting in Harlan: Documentary Work and the New Left, examines documentary films made in the rural US South in the 1960s and 1970s and the relationship between documentary practices, aesthetics, and political and social movements. She is also working on a book about the Athens, Georgia music scene, Cool Town: Athens, Georgia and The Promise of Alternative Culture in Reagan’s America (1977—1991). She has held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the Gilder Lehrman Center and at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, the National Humanities Center, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
MARTHA HODES, a professor of history at New York University, is the author of The Sea Captain’s Wife and White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South, which won the Allan Nevins Prize for Literary Distinction in the Writing of History. She is also the editor of a collection of essays, Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History. Hodes received her PhD from Princeton University and also holds degrees from Harvard University and Bowdoin College. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, and the Whiting Foundation. She serves as advisor for a variety of film projects, including a documentary feature-in-progress about lynching in America, and the PBS-TV series, History Detectives. She lives in New York City and Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
JOHN L. JACKSON, Jr: Both a documentary filmmaker and a leading scholar of Cultural Anthropology, Jackson is a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. He has researched and published extensively on the issues of culture, race and story telling, notably on Spike Lee and his work in both fiction and non-fiction film. Jackson was also a Visiting Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School. We will draw upon on his multidisciplinary approach to the study of the experience of black America. He may appear on camera in the movie.
TAMMY L. KERNODLE holds a BM in Music Education from Virginia State University and a M.A. and Ph.D in Music History from The Ohio State University. Her work on the operas of African American composer William Grant Still and the religious compositions of jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams have garnered her a national reuptation. Her work has appeared in Musical Quarterly, The Journal of Musicological Research, The Journal of American Music Research, The Black Music Research Journal, The Journal of the Society of American Music, The U.S. Catholic Historian and a number of anthologies. Her book Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (Northeastern University Press, 2004) is the most recent biography addressing the contributions of the composer and pianist. She is associate Professor of Musicology at Miami University where she teaches in the areas of African American music, 20th century American music (popular and concert) and women in music.
GEORGE LA NOUE: Dr. La Noue is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. His research has focused on education law, civil rights law and public policy. A frequent witness in Congressional testimony, Prof. La Noue is also a well-seasoned trial expert in more than thirty civil rights cases in federal courts. He has been an Assistant to the Executive Director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the principal consultant for the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education on race neutral programs in higher education and for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. We will call on Dr. La Noue to guide us through the Civil Rights issues present in our story, as well as the Lovings’ legal battle.
ROBIN LENHARDT is an Associate Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law, where she specializes in matters pertaining to race, civil rights, family law, and constitutional law. In addition to Fordham, she has held teaching and lecturer positions at Columbia Law School, the Georgetown University Law Center, Howard Law School, and the University of Chicago Law School. Before entering legal academia, Professor Lenhardt held a number of positions in the private and non-profit sectors. A law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and Judge Hugh Bownes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Professor Lenhardt was formerly a Counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where she was a member of the litigation team that defended the University of Michigan in the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger affirmative action lawsuits. Professor Lenhardt also received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship to work as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and has been employed as an attorney advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Professor Lenhardt holds an A.B. degree in English from Brown University; a J.D. from Harvard Law School; an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and an L.L.M. from the Georgetown University Law Center. She served on President-Elect Barack Obama Transition Committee, focusing on civil rights matters for the Department of Justice Agency Review Team; serves as a commissioner on the U.S. Supreme Court Fellows Commission; and is currently a fellow on the Brown University Corporation.
TORIL MOI: James B. Duke Professor of Literature & Romance Studies and Professor of English and Professor of Theater Studies at Duke University. She works on feminist theory and women’s writing; on the intersections of literature, philosophy and aesthetics. Moi will advise our team with regard to the story of Mildred Loving, especially the unusual action this modest woman took in light of her husband’s apparent passivity. Her article, “A Woman’s Desire to be Known: Silence and Expressivity in Corinne; Untrodden Regions of the Mind: Romanticism and Psychoanalysis Ed. Ghislaine McDayter will be relevant. She will also help us structure the dramatic elements of the film to maintain a literary quality in our storytelling.
DAVID L. PALETZ: A Professor of Political Science at Duke University, Dr. Paletz has a special expertise in Media and Politics with numerous publications on the subject, including The Media in American Politics: Contents and Consequences. His current book-in-progress is on film and politics. He will help us to examine the history of miscegenation and racism in film and media, and their influence on the prevailing politics of the Civil Rights era. He may appear on-camera in this capacity.
DR. ROBERT A. PRATT is a Professor of History at the University of Georgia. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and earned his Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Virginia. Professor Pratt teaches courses in U.S., southern, and civil rights history. His expertise is the modern African American experience and the black freedom struggle, with special emphasis on school desegregation, race relations, and the law. He has published essays and articles in numerous magazines and journals, including Rutgers Law Journal and Howard Law Journal. He is the author of The Color of their Skin: Education and Race in Richmond, Virginia, 1954-89 (1992), which was recognized as an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights, and We Shall Not Be Moved: the Desegregation of the University of Georgia (2003). He has also written on Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that overturned the ban on interracial marriage in the United States. A native of Essex County, Virginia, Pratt grew up near the Lovings in the 1960s and frequently played with Richard and Mildred’s three children—Sidney, Donald, and Peggy.
Download the Advisors & Scholars PDF