Sunday, March 30, 2003

MU plans lecture to last 100 hours

Marathon to explore race relations

By Rob Phillips
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - What do W.E.B. Du Bois and Jimmy Stewart have in common?

They both helped inspire a Miami University professor's plan to conduct a 100-hour lecturing marathon, intended to provide a discussion on an unlimited amount of race-related matters. The 100 hours derived from February being the 100th anniversary of the publishing of Du Bois' treatise The Souls of Black Folk.

"What better way to give a tribute to a fellow faculty member whose life spanned 90 years and whose work has already proven to be a classic?" said Rodney Coates, director of Black World Studies at Miami..

The 100-hour lecture begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday and ends at 9 p.m. Sunday. It will take place in the Center for Black Culture and Learning, in Warfield Hall.

Coates said he kept thinking about Jimmy Stewart's filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and decided on the marathon approach.

"When I pitched the idea and before I knew Miami's faculty was going to respond in the manner they did, I said that I was willing to stand and lecture the entire 100 hours myself," said Coates.

Fortunately, about 30 Miami professors have already volunteered to completely fill the time slots, Coates said.

"At least the students won't die of boredom having to listen to me that whole time," Coates joked.

Coates hopes to extend some of Du Bois' beliefs about opening up discussion on race and other topics.

"Du Bois felt we always have these polite discussions about race ... and never really lift the veil and peek through," he said. "This means we never uncover some of the more touching issues dealing with race."

Professors will speak from many departments including psychology, sociology, history, economics, political science and anthropology.

Chris Wellin , an assistant professor of sociology and gerontology , said Du Bois did pioneering work in his field.

In the late 19th century and nearly two decades before another one existed, Du Bois conducted a sociological field survey.

His investigation looked into the role of blacks in Philadelphia was titled "The Philadelphia Negro."

"One of the reasons I wanted to take part in the marathon was to make note of and celebrate his contribution to social research," Wellin said.

A few students will also be presenting lectures.

Senior Corrine Carthell, an English Literature and Black World Studies double major from Oxford, will be lecturing on the role of the African-American woman on a predominantly white campus.

"I'm really excited about this because it is the first time in Miami's history that we have done such a marathon discussing one person," Carthell said.

For more information, contact Coates at or 529-1235 or Carthell at

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