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Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Age of Obama

Professor Tillet will discuss her new book "Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post–Civil Rights Imagination" Free and open to the public. Almost fifty years after the major victories of the civil rights movement, African Americans continue to have a vexed relationship to American citizenship and the civic myth of the United States as the land of equal opportunity and justice for all. In “Sites of Slavery ,” Tillet examines how contemporary African American artists and writers such as Mary Francis Berry, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Bill T. Jones, and Kara Walker reconstruct “sites of slavery” — the allegations of a sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the characters Uncle Tom and Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin," African American tourism to West African slave forts, and the legal challenges posed by the modern reparations movements — in order to challenge our national amnesia about slavery and model a racially democratic future. Tillet is assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow for Career Enhancement and served as a visiting fellow at the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University during the 2010-11 academic year.  She has written for the Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, The Nation, NPR, and The Root and is also co-founder of A Long Walk Home, Inc., a non-profit organization that uses art therapy and the visual and performing arts to end violence against girls and women. "Sites of Slavery", published by Duke University Press is currently available for sale.