Does “The Help” help? – March 16, Ustler Hall, UF

The Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research and the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations will host a panel discussion on Friday, March 16 at noon in the Atrium, Ustler Hall. Participants include Dr. Paul Ortiz, Dr. Amy Ongiri, Dr. Debra Walker King, Dr. Patricia Hilliard Nunn, Dr. Lousie Newman, Graduate Student Lauren Smith, and Moderator Zoharah Simmons.

The popularity of Kathryn Stockett’s novel, “The Help” and the movie, have been met with strong responses to the representations of African American domestic workers in particular and the struggle for civil rights in general. Although some believe that the novel’s intention was to reveal the stories of historically silenced perspectives, others have called for a more nuanced, informed, and critical perspective of the issues raised by “The Help.”

Just what are the implications of the novel and film—and the controversy generated about them—for our understanding of history, race, and the uses and abuses of domestic labor in the United States? What can we learn from having a “difficult” conversation about “The Help”? Does “The Help” help?

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