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Students Hear From Author and Historian Nancy Isenberg

Monday, November 06, 2017

Students pose inside Oakland’s Carnegie Music Hall after Isenberg’s lecture. Photo courtesy of the Honors Program.Point Park University students at Carnegie Library Music Hall after Nancy Isenberg’s lecture

Author and Historian Nancy Isenberg visited Point Park University this semester to discuss her new book White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Additionally, students attended Isenberg's lecture that night at Carnegie Library Music Hall as part of a partnership with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures — sponsored by Point Park University and its Honors Program.

Pictured is author and historian Nancy Isenberg. | Photo by Allison Hritz

New Honors Program students and freshmen in the honors section of the City-University Life course read White Trash as part of their study of the issues of class in America.

Isenberg’s presentation further illustrated the themes present in her book of class warfare in American politics, the primacy of land as a marker of status in America and the legacy of eugenics within U.S. culture.

Several journalism and English classes also attended the on-campus lecture. Assistant Professor Jessica McCort, Ph.D., brought students from her College Composition and Harlem Renaissance classes.

“This was a great opportunity for students to listen to an author explain the ideas she had developed in her prose,” McCort said. “I encouraged my students to attend because the book engages important issues currently being debated in the public sphere and the ways in which the narratives of our country’s history inform our present cultural moment.”

Kayla McDonald, a freshman criminal justice major from Buffalo, N.Y., found Isenberg’s lecture to be humorous and engaging.

“She was a good public speaker and made sure to include things to make the audience laugh,” McDonald said. “That was surprising for me due to the serious topic.”

Many students said listening to Isenberg made them think about the issues America faces in regards to classism that exist today.

“Part of the problem is a lot of people don't know, or don't care, about the issues of class,” said Christy Martin, a freshman sports, arts and entertainment management major from Morgantown, W.Va. “The first step is to have conversations with people to make them aware.”

Brittany Arp, a freshman political science major from Russell, Pa., had the opportunity to have dinner with Isenberg and several students after her lecture at Carnegie Library Music Hall.

“She did a really great job of connecting the dense history of class in America to Point Park students,” said Arp. “Having a one-on-one conversation with Isenberg at dinner was an experience I'll never forget, and I'm glad Point Park gave me that opportunity.”

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Undergraduate Academics | Honors ProgramVisit Point Park UniversityRequest Information

Reporting contributed by Elizabeth Turnbull, mass communication major
Photos by Allison Hritz, photojournalism major, and the Honors Program

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