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Conversations in Black Study

Conversations in Black Study convenes ten scholars whose collective work deepens our understanding of the interdisciplinary field of Black studies across important themes such as religion, Black feminisms, gender and sexuality, Black and Native literature, affect theory, Black politics and organizing traditions, digital humanities and public history.

“I want to suggest that Black studies rightfully holds in awe and Black study is to enact the break. Both necessary, but one holds us and the other releases us. Black study means holding the tradition not to build new cathedrals but for the purpose of eventually tugging at the threads until it breaks.”
–Bedour Alagraa from “Sunlight Through The Fog: Caribbean Thought and the Promise of Black Studies

This year’s theme is grounded by the above epigraph distinguishing Black studies from Black study by Dr. Bedour Alagraa in a presentation she gave for the UL Lafayette community last year and archived on the Guilbeau Center for Public History website.

As a break from institutionalized forms of Black or African American Diaspora studies, Black study confronts rather than resolves internal contradictions in the field.

This year’s focus on the power of transformative conversations takes seriously the practice of critical dialogue as a path toward Black study that is rooted in the histories and traditions of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs’ 1978 text Conversations in Maine. Traditional academic disciplines such as History, English, Sociology, Political Science and Anthropology have all made substantial breaks with dehumanizing traditions of Western thought rooted in colonialism and thus the work of Black study is relevant to future scholarship and research across disciplinary formations of knowledge production and teaching.

We will engage the UL Lafayette community through a series of reading group discussions of the scholarship of these ten scholars on Wednesdays in March and April, which are open to UL Lafayette faculty, staff, and students only. Fridays will feature a virtual dialogue between two speakers, and the public is invited to participate and learn in these sessions.

Speaker Schedule

Black Religion & Black Study

Friday, March 11 at 5 p.m. | Join on Zoom
Dr. Ahmad Greene-Hayes and Dr. James Howard Hill
Dr. Ahmad Greene-HaysDr. James Howard Hill

Selected readings:

  • Greene-Hayes, Ahmad. "Discredited Knowledges and Black Religious Ways of Knowing." J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 9.1 (2021): 41-49.
  • Hill, James Howard. “The Black Church and the Black Fantastic: Black Religious Experience in Popular Culture.” The Black Church in American Public Life, Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, 4/8/2021.

The Philosophical Negativity of Black and Native Feeling

Friday, March 18 at 5 p.m. | Join on Zoom
Dr. Chad Infante and Dr. Tyrone S. Palmer
Dr. Chad InfanteDr. Tyrone Palmer

Selected readings:

  • Infante, Chad Benito. "Murder and Metaphysics." Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness (2020).
  • Palmer, Tyrone S. "Otherwise than Blackness: Feeling, World, Sublimation." Qui Parle 29.2 (2020): 247-283.

Being Undisciplined: Black Feminist Study of Gender and Sexuality

Friday, April 1 at 5 p.m. | Join on Zoom
Dr. Chelsea Frazier and Dr. Brittnay Proctor
Dr. Chelsea FrazierDr. Brittnay Proctor

Selected readings:

  • Frazier, Chelsea. “Money Good?: The Problem and Promise of Black Women’s Prosperity” forthcoming essay published for an anthology on intersectionality
  • Proctor, Brittnay and James Bliss. “It’s Not as Easy as It Looks on the Page”: Security, Precarity, and Working with Black Feminist Classics.” Feminist Formations, Volume 32, Issue 1, Spring 2020, pp. 15-28

Black Study, Black (Anti-)Politics

Friday, April 8 at 5 p.m. | Join on Zoom
Dr. Joshua Myers and William Anderson
Dr. Josh MeyersWilliam Anderson

Selected readings:

  • Cedric Robinson, "In Search of a Pan-African Commonwealth." Social Identities 2.1 (1996): 161-168.
  • William C. Anderson "Black Migration Beyond States & Borders" ROAR Magazine 10/7/21.

Making Black Public History: Black Political Cultures and the Praxis of Critique

Friday, April 29 at 5 p.m. | Join on Zoom
Adam McNeil and Amanda Joyce Hall
Adam McNeilAmanda Joyce Hall

Selected readings: TBD

Recommended Reading List

Below is a recommended reading list from UL Lafayette faculty.

Alagraa, Bedour. "Homo Narrans and the Science of the Word: Toward a Caribbean Radical Imagination." Critical Ethnic Studies 4.2 (2018): 164-181.

Alkalimat, Abdul. The History of Black Studies. Pluto Press, 2021.

Anderson, William C., and Zoe Samudzi. As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation. AK Press, 2018.

Autry, LaTanya. “A Black Curator Imagines Otherwise.” Hyperallergic Op-Ed, April 22, 2021.

Berry, Daina Ramey. The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation. Beacon Press, 2017.

Boggs, James, et al. Conversations in Maine: Exploring our Nation's Future. South End Press, 1978.

Boggs, Grace Lee. “The Black Revolution in America,” The Black Woman: An Anthology ed. Toni Cade Bambara, 1970. p. 269-287.

Brand, Dionne. A Map to the Door of No Return: Notes to Belonging. Vintage, 2002.

Burden-Stelly, Charisse. “Black Studies in the Westernized University: The Interdisciplines and the Elision of Political Economy.” Unsettling Eurocentricsim in the Westernized University, Routledge, 2018.

Burden-Stelly, Charisse, and Gerald Horne. WEB Du Bois: A Life in American History. ABC-CLIO, 2019.

Camp, Stephanie. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South, 2009.

Carmichael, Stokely, et al. Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael - Kwame Ture. Simon and Schuster, 2003.

Copeland, Huey. “Tending-toward-Blackness.” October 2016; (156): 141–144.

Da Silva, Denise Ferreira. Toward a Global Idea of Race. University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

Douglass, Patrice D. "Black Feminist Theory for the Dead and Dying." Theory & Event 21.1 (2018): 106-123.

Ferguson, Roderick A. The Reorder of Things: The University and its Pedagogies of Minority Difference. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Haley, Sarah. No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity. Chappel-Hill, NC, UNC Press, 2016.

Hall, Stuart. “When was ‘the Post-Colonial‘? Thinking at the Limit,” The Post-Colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons, eds. Iain Chambers and Lidia Curti. London: Routledge, 1996.

Harding, Vincent. "History: White, Negro and Black." Southern Exposure Vol. 1 (1974): 52-62.

Harney, Stefano, and Fred Moten. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. Chico: AK Press, 2013.

Hartman, Saidiya V. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.