One part of the conference that really stuck with both Stephanie and me, who are running this blog, was Jeanne Theoharis’ keynote talk on the first Conference day. Theoharis is a professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. At the beginning of her keynote presentation, she said that we as scholars often imagine ourselves as an international community, but but that there is so much power in actually coming together and meeting in person to discuss our research. To us, her words seemed especially fitting, as we experienced that coming-together for the first time.
Jeanne Theoharis was very kind to answer two short questions in a follow-up via email and had an uplifting message for us younger scholars.
Stephanie Berens and Annika Wiedemann: What was your favorite part of the Dikes of Courage conference and what do you like about conferences in general?
Jeanne Theoharis: I think my favorite part of the conference was how international it was and how exciting it is to think about the US Civil Rights Movement with a group of scholars from different places. That’s part of the power of conferences, I think – to get to look at an issue through different lenses and be in conversation with people you’ve never met.
What is one thing you would like to tell the young academics who presented in Lisbon?
I think, for every younger scholar, presenting can sometimes feel very intimidating, but trying to keep in mind that the conference itself is for making our ideas better and it’s okay to feel like you’re still figuring stuff out.
If you haven’t done so yet, go read our interview with the organizer Teresa Botelho, who also had some very interesting things to say about the Dikes of Courage conference!