In the eyes of Carolyn Wedin, literature is a way to enter and learn about experiences different from what’s familiar. It helps build perspective and generates more understanding people. She decided to focus on African Americana literature after teaching at Shaw University during the Civil Rights Movement. A cross was burned at the school in protest, and Dr. Wedin knew something had to be done. There wasn’t any black literature in the curriculum, so she added it and started teaching it herself. Dr. Wedin eventually brought her expertise to the University of Wisconsin, where she stayed for the remainder of her career. She accepted the distinguished title of professor emeritus in 1996.
To further spread her knowledge, Dr. Wedin decided to contribute her own work to the field she loved so much. She authored “Teacher Step Outside” and “Lands of the Suspended Sun” in 2017, “Inheritors of the Spirit: Mary White Ovington and the Founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People” in 1997, “Letters and Reflections from Poland” in 1993, “Wisconsin: A Year” in 1985,” “Jessie Redmond Fauset” in 1981, and “James Baldwin” in 1980. Additionally, she contributed numerous publications to journals, newspapers, and encyclopedias.
Dr. Wedin prepared for her endeavors by earning a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, a Master of Arts from the University of Kansas in 1964, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1961. She also joined prominent organizations like Phi Beta Kappa, and garnered experience in roles like teaching assistant and editorial assistant for Modern Drama Magazine at the University of Kansas and instructor at North Carolina A&T State University.
As a testament to her success, Dr. Wedin was selected as a fellow of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Silesia in Poland, a Fulbright Roving Scholar in Norway, and as both a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Other notable accolades include the Wisconsin Women Leaders recognition from the American Association of University Women and inclusion in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in the Midwest.
When Dr. Wedin isn’t working, she enjoys gardening, biking, painting, sewing, baking, writing, reading, walking, and music. She has several writing projects in the works.