We speak with Dr. John Young - Professor of 20th Century British and American Literature at Marshall University in Marshall, West Virginia. We discuss the racial tensions and how that ties into John's scholarly pursuits (highlighted below) We discuss the mythic nature of this virus and how science fiction could not have predicted this incredible event. We discuss the 'Defund the Police' movement and what police reform may look like. We discuss the education system and how that needs systemic reform and how it applies to so many other problems in our society. It's important to examine the structure of public education and the 'prison-like' environment coupled with the low amount of funding extends itself into systemic issues that also need addressed. We talk about conceptually what a fall semester in college or public schools may look like and what we all learned about public education as our children were home schooled to finish their semester - putting the education system in a lot of our faces. We also dig into some book recommendations to read during the pandemic.
Dr. Young's current scholarly projects include The Souls of Black Texts, which will apply W.E.B. Du Bois’s idea of double consciousness to the drafts and published versions of major 20th– and 21st-century African American works (by Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Claudia Rankine) and a series of essays on Jean Toomer’s periodical publications. Previous publications include How to Revise a True War Story: Tim O’Brien’s Processes of Textual Production (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Publishing Blackness: Textual Constructions of Race since 1850, co-edited with George Hutchinson (University of Michigan Press, 2012), Black Writers, White Publishers (University Press of Mississippi, 2006), and various articles on the production histories of modernist and postmodernist literature. He is also currently serving as Executive Director of the Society for Textual Scholarship.