Bouncing Back from Katrina
Location: Hodson Hall Commons
CHESTERTOWN, MD— Nona P. Martin, who recently joined the staff at the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, will appear at The Egg, Hodson Hall Commons, on Thursday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m. to present “How We Came Back: Voices from Post-Katrina New Orleans.”
Martin recently worked on an oral history of reconstruction and recovery from the 2005 disaster. Martin’s talk will be based on interviews selected from the hundreds collected in the years after the hurricane. After presenting the voices of the Katrina returnees, she will be joined for further discussion by Emily Chamlee-Wright, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, who served as a principal investigator on the project.
The newest member of the Starr Center team, Martin works in U.S. History, Caribbean History, Urban History, Public History, and Oral History and Memory. She has a Ph.D. in History from George Mason University and an M.A. in Public History from Loyola University Chicago. She is also a trained librarian, with an M.L.I.S. from the University of South Florida.
In her role as the Starr Center’s Special Projects Manager, Martin is directing many of the Center’s student programs, including fellowships, scholarships, and weekend road trips. Together with the Center’s Michael Buckley, she is launching a new summer oral history program called StoryQuest, in which students will gather stories of Kent County during the Civil Rights era.
“Nona Martin is a remarkably gifted and versatile scholar and teacher,” said Adam Goodheart, the Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director. “Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and her work gracefully spans diverse places and times. We’re thrilled to have her joining the Center, the College, and the Chestertown community.”
Martin’s doctoral dissertation, “‘I’se a Man’: The 1942 Riot as an Attack on Bay Street, Discrimination and Injustice in the Bahamas,” explores a watershed event in Caribbean history. She demonstrates that the riot was the first sign of political awakening in the country’s black community and launched a movement that culminated in majority rule and independence for the Bahamas.
Martin is also interested in racial aspects of American sports history. She is currently researching the historical significance of the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers 1963 basketball team, a project growing out of her masters thesis. The ’63 Ramblers started four black players in an era when it was an unwritten NCAA rule that only two blacks could play on the floor at the same time. Not only did they advance civil rights in the United States, they won that year’s NCAA championship. Martin’s articles have been published in The Journal of Socio-Economics, Space and Culture, The Journal of Caribbean History, Island Studies Journal and Studies in Emergent Order.
Emily Chamlee-Wright was named Provost and Dean of Washington College on July 1, 2012. She previously served as Associate Dean at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she began her teaching career in 1993 and was named the Elbert H. Neese Professor of Economics in 2007. She also directed Beloit’s Miller Upton Programs on the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations.
Chamlee-Wright earned her Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. Combining economics and ethnography, she has examined how communities rebound—or fail to rebound—after catastrophe, with particular emphasis on post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans. She has also conducted field research among female entrepreneurs in Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Chamlee-Wright is the author of three books: The Cultural and Political Economy of Recovery: Social Learning in a Post-Disaster Environment (Routledge, 2010), Culture and Enterprise: The Development, Representation, and Morality of Business, with Don Lavoie (Routledge, 2000) and The Cultural Foundations of Economic Development (Routledge, 1997). She is co-editor of The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Development (Edward Elgar, 2010) and is working on a book about the role of liberal arts colleges in civil society, called Liberal Learning and the Art of Self-Governance.