Faculty Profile: Linda-Susan Beard

Linda-Susan Beard shares some thoughts with the Bulletin.

Linda-Susan Beard focuses her teaching and research on post-colonial literatures, South African and African American literature, and contemplative intelligence. She also co-founded Emmaus Monastery, a contemplative, monastic community in rural Michigan.

The question

“For far too many Americans, slavery is an opaque abstraction hidden in a sanitized and seemingly unknowable past.”

the family tree

“My father, who passed away last July in the 102nd year of his life, had a slave grandfather we have traced ... and we believe that we know one of the masters who owned us: the Baird family.” (Read more about this connection.)

Exceptional Amnesia

“The single narrative we have inherited about American exceptionalism has always been self-serving and amnesiac about this ugly chapter of our history, with its unexplored vantage of white hegemony—even in the anti-slavery struggle—and its myopia that continues to dismiss Black achievement against the odds.”


“The favorite biblical text of the slave was Exodus. It is the remarkable indomitability of the human spirit that we study, even in the midst of life-threatening and mortal abuse in the attempt to destroy the slave’s sense of self.”

Past, Present, Future

“We are bound together in our narrative of the past; we are also yoked in the present and in the futures we choose to imagine together.”