Georgia Southern history department to continue conversation on book burning with seminar

Nathan Woodruff

STATESBORO — The history department at Georgia Southern University will be hosting a teach-in about book burning entitled “Book Burning, Censorship and Free Speech in a Historical Perspective” on Tuesday at 5:30 in the Interdisciplinary Academic Building room 1020.

Corinna Zeltsman, assistant professor of history, one of the key organizers of the event, said that the event was designed to help students understand the magnitude of book-burning.

We organized this teach-in event to help students understand book burning as a historical phenomenon that has occurred in different times and places around the world, often in association with climates of censorship, intolerance and violence,” she said. “The circumstances surrounding the book burning that took place on campus are unique to our particular time and place.”

Zeltsman said it was a historian’s responsibility to point out the intolerance of burning someone’s book.

“Our commitment to the values of free speech, inclusion, and debate compels us to point out the danger and harm associated with intolerance towards other people’s ideas,” Zeltsman said. “Book burning goes against the mission of why we are here as a community, which is to engage with diverse ideas and perspectives, including with ideas that make us uncomfortable.”

Jessica Forsee, a graduate student, who studied history and political science in undergraduate, said that while the book burning that occurred on Wednesday hurt, this incident showed that Forsee as an individual could keep the conversation about diversity and inclusion going.

“The book burning that took place yesterday is a clear example of behavior rooted in white nationalism exhibited by the apartheid regime, the KKK, and the Nazi party,” Forsee said.“That is what initially caught my attention and hurt me. I have spent the better part of two years studying instances of racial oppression and to see it on campus hurts, but reminds me that my job as a white woman with privilege is to keep continuing the conversation of understanding our common humanity.”

Nathan Woodruff, The George-Anne Managing News Editor,