In Praise – and Dread – of Trees

The Toni Morrison Lectures
April 18, 2016 5:30 PM
McCosh Hall, Room 10
The Toni Morrison Lectures
April 18, 2016 5:30 PM
McCosh Hall, Room 10
The final talk of three delivered by Wole Soyinka at Princeton University in the spring of 2016
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka

Take off those tussled, multidisciplinary hats and thrust them, fling them as high as we can. Almost the kind of symbolic expression which is also used in commencement: “The sky is the limit.” You and I know that the sky is not the limit.
-Wole Soyinka

When we speak of creativity you and I must continue to understand that we’re not speaking merely of what comes out of words or tunes, notes, music, graphic arts, etc. We’re speaking also of our partners in crime. The sciences, technology, the act of probing apparent reality. The fact of creativity that all of this science or humanities begins with curiosity.

Just as a tree does not make a forest, so does one gender not make humanity. When you compromise or you pander to fragmentary notions like cultural relativism, you are merely opening wide the gates to your own destruction. You have taken the first step, however long it takes, towards yourselves also becoming relative and thus expendable. This is when you wake up to discover that you have become first line designated victims.

Perhaps it’s about time that we adopted the language of those very enemies of humanity, but this time on behalf of humanity fundamentalism. Yes, perhaps it’s high time we declare ourselves fundamentalists of human liberty.


Latest in the AAS 21 Repertoire

The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century
Autumn Womack, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Rethinking Empire and Democracy
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Reena N. Goldthree
The Formation of ‘Religio-Racial’ Identity
Judith Weisenfeld, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
How Black Americans See Discrimination
National Public Radio

Upcoming Events

Screening of 'Gook' (2017)
Mar 29, 2018 @ 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Big Chief Wears a Golden Crown: Art of the New Orleans Black Masking Indians
Apr 3, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Book Discussion on 'May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem'
Apr 5, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
The AAS James Baldwin Lecture with Brian E. Herrera
Apr 12, 2018 @ 4:30 pm
Shadows of the Prison: 5th Annual SPEAR Conference
Apr 13, 2018 - Apr 14, 2018
Princeton Research Day
May 10, 2018

African American Studies for the 21st Century

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  1. 'The Making of the Modern Black Diaspora' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Joshua Guild 35:17
  2. 'The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Autumn Womack 30:42
  3. 'Rethinking Empire and Democracy' Reena N. Goldthree, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. 44:49
  4. 'The Formation of Religio-Racial Identity' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Judith Weisenfeld 47:32
  5. 'What Was African American Marriage?' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Tera Hunter 44:59
  6. 'Before Cornel West, After Cornel West' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Cornel West 52:46
  7. 'An Insistence on Not Being Discouraged' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Chika Okeke-Agulu 55:19
  8. 'A Through Line for African American Studies' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Imani Perry 44:07
  9. 'Activism and Risk in the Face of Trump' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Asanni York, Destiny Crockett 43:02
  10. 'Langston Hughes, Religious Thinker' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Wallace Best 45:50
  11. 'Convergences and Dissonance' Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Keeanga-Yamahatta Taylor, Naomi Murakawa, & Imani Perry 60:08