UConn’s Prof. Wayne Franklin on James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans, & American Democracy

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Wayne Franklin, professor of English at the University of Connecticut and definitive biographer of the American literary figure James Fenimore Cooper. As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, Prof. Franklin reviews Cooper’s background and major works, especially the “Leatherstocking Tales,” including The Last of the Mohicans, which are distinguished for their enlightened and sympathetic portrayal of the disappearing tribes. Franklin discusses why these books, set in upstate New York in the middle of the 18th century, and their memorable protagonists have captivated generations of readers for over a century, and why Cooper deserves more contemporary study and appreciation. They also explore Cooper’s lessons about the importance of constitutionalism, liberty, self-government, and civic knowledge as the basis for the rule of law in our republic. Prof. Franklin concludes with a reading from The Last of the Mohicans.

Stories of the Week: In Europe, despite a COVID-19 surge that has prompted closures of restaurants, theaters, and gyms, schools remain open. Are there lessons for the U.S.? Some prominent names have been floated to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Education – among them, Eduardo Padron, president emeritus of Miami Dade College; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Lily Eskelsen García, former president of the National Education Association – but would they accept?

Interview Guest:

Wayne Franklin is professor of English at the University of Connecticut. He has authored the two-volume, definitive biography James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years (2007) and James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years (2017), both from Yale University Press. Each volume was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine, while the first volume won an award from the Association of University Presses. He has also authored books on early American travel writing, Discoverers, Explorers, Settlers (1979); the frontier fiction of Cooper, The New World of James Fenimore Cooper (1982); and Mapping American Culture (1992), co-edited with Michael Steiner. He founded the University of Iowa Press’s American Land and Life series in 1990, eventually editing some 30 books in it, and for 20 years was among the editors of the Norton Anthology of American Literature. Professor Franklin taught at the University of Iowa, where he was one of the founding faculty members in Iowa’s American Native/Native Studies program, and served as Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature at Northeastern University. Franklin came to UConn in 2005 to serve as director of its American Studies program, and in 2009 was chosen head of the UConn English department. He earned a B.A. in English from Union College and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

The next episode will air on Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 at 12 pm ET with guest, Carl Bistany, the president of SABIS® Educational Systems.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links:

Speculation Over Biden’s Education Secretary

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/11/11/who-will-be-bidens-education-secretary 

Lessons From Europe, Where Cases Are Rising But Schools Are Open

https://www.npr.org/2020/11/13/934153674/lessons-from-europe-where-cases-are-rising-but-schools-are-open

Get Updates on Our Education Research

Related Posts

Civil Rights Leader Bob Woodson on 1776 Unites & Race in America

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Robert Woodson, Sr., founder and president of the Woodson Center that supports neighborhood-based initiatives to revitalize low-income communities, as well as author and editor of the May 2021 book, "Red, White, and Black."

Mariam Memarsadeghi on Freeing Iran, Civic Ed, & Immigrant Portraits

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Cara Candal and guest co-host Derrell Bradford talk with Mariam Memarsadeghi, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Mariam shares remembrances from her early years spent in the Shah’s Iran, and emigration to the U.S. shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution in 1979.

Independent Institute’s Dr. Morgan Hunter on Teaching Greco-Roman History to High Schoolers

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Morgan Hunter, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in California, and co-author with Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Dr. Williamson Evers, of the white paper, Is It Time for a “490 B.C. Project”?: High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage.

Aurora Institute’s Susan Patrick on Digital Learning Lessons from COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Susan Patrick, the President and CEO of Aurora Institute and co-founder of CompetencyWorks. Susan shares observations about the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for American K-12 education, and the prospects for expanding digital learning.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Prof. David Hackett Fischer on Paul Revere, George Washington, & American Independence

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with David Hackett Fischer, University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History Emeritus at Brandeis University, and the author of numerous books, including Paul Revere's Ride and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington's Crossing. As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, they review key figures who helped secure independence from Great Britain, including Paul Revere, immortalized in Longfellow’s classic poem, and Founding Father George Washington, known among his contemporaries as the “indispensable man” of the revolutionary cause.

AEI’s Naomi Schaefer Riley on Parenting, Excessive Screen Time, & Religion in American Education

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Naomi Schaefer Riley, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of several books, including Be the Parent, Please.

New York Times Best Seller Paul Reid on Winston Churchill, WWII, & the Cold War

This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Paul Reid, co-author, with William Manchester, of the New York Times best-selling biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. Reid shares how he was enlisted to complete William Manchester’s biographical trilogy on the greatest political figure of the 20th century, which became a best-seller.

Nina Rees on the 30th Anniversary of Charter Public Schools in America

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara celebrate the 30th anniversary of charter schools with Nina Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Blended Learning Expert Heather Staker on Student-Centered Lessons During COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Heather Staker, founder and president of Ready to Blend. They discuss her work with the late Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn on disruptive innovation and schooling, as well as her book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, and her recent publication, Developing a student-centered workforce through micro-credentials. 

BU’s Dr. Farouk El-Baz on NASA’s Moon Landing, Remote Sensing, & STEM

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Farouk El-Baz, retired research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. They discuss his remarkable, varied, and pioneering career in the sciences, surveying both the heavens and the Earth, and key teachers and scientists who have influenced him. Dr. El-Baz shares what it was like serving as supervisor of Lunar Science Planning for NASA's Apollo program, and working on the world-changing project of putting a human on the Moon.