On Academics, Aesthetics, and Advocacy, with guest Cherene Sherrard, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Intersections between areas of scholarly inquiry and areas of creative expression are both fraught with complexity and ripe with opportunity. Where and how these spheres of academic, intellectual and creative work inform each other is often unique to the individual performing that work. But what happens when these two areas—the academic and artistic—also engage the work of advocacy, of inspiring social and political change?

Our guest on this episode of the BYU Humanities Center Podcast is Professor Cherene Sherrard, the Sally Mead Hands-Bascom Professor of English at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. She is the author of many important scholarly pieces that take up questions of belonging and global black identity, most recently through the theoretical frameworks of Archipelagic American studies and eco criticism. These topics are similarly considered in her excellent creative publications, including a recently published collection of poetry titled Grimoire, published by Autumn House Press, as well as an engaging essay titled “Saltworks” published in Terrain magazine. We spoke with Professor Sherrard about how these pieces and their associated areas of inquiry speak to the current and urgent conversations about race and racism in the United States, and how harmony between these areas of academic and intellectual work can forward the nation’s and world’s progress towards greater racial equality and justice.

Interview by Matthew Wickman, Founding Director BYU Humanities Center, and Sam Jacob, BYU Humanities Center Intern.

Produced and edited by Brooke Brown and Sam Jacob.

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