Thoughts on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Convocation Lecture, and the Tragic Myths of America

The 2021 Convocation Lecture for first-year students is being given by none other than Ta-Nehisi Coates, the award-winning author of Between the World and Me. While this is not explicitly a book about mythology, it does offer some “tragic” truths about America and actually speaks in interesting ways to myths and myth-making since the very founding of our nation.  In this blogpost, then, I want you to carefully respond to this year’s “common reader,” and specifically the Convocation Lecture by Coates on 16 November.  Your response should be two paragraphs long, and you might consider such things as:  In the wake of this event, what stood out for you?  What did you find enjoyable (or not), and why?  What did the writer say that really touched a nerve with you?  What did you find interesting about Coates’ talk, and how/why does it connect up with the themes and topics of our class on myth and tragedy?  How did this discussion enhance your understanding of Between the World and Me in terms of its themes, anecdotes, or style?  Also, looking at Coates’ lecture critically, why do you think this kind of event is useful and important for all of you as first-year students at Stockton?  Having spent so much time together reading and examining this excellent book, I’ll be very curious to hear your thoughts about Coates’ (virtual) visit to Stockton!