Faculty-Graduate Seminar

The Faculty-Graduate seminar is an intimate intellectual community that comes together to discuss work in progress around a common theme across a wide range of disciplines. Our goal is to establish a small but intellectually diverse and committed group of scholars who will attend all meetings and engage in sustained discourse during the year. Each meeting lasts one hour and twenty minutes followed by dinner. Given these goals and the limited meeting space, we will be accepting only twelve (12) graduate students into each semester’s seminar. We encourage graduate students to commit to both semesters and preference for spring registration will be given to students engaged in the fall seminar. Participation in the African American Studies’ Faculty-Graduate Seminar for one academic year or the equivalent (two semesters) will fulfill one of the requirements for the AAS Graduate Certificate


Recent Faculty-Graduate Seminars


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2019 – 2020
Black Design: History, Theory, and Practice

As our media-saturated culture exhausts every possible angle of consuming race, a new generation of scholars, activists, and artists has turned to investigating the structuring conditions of how blackness is experienced in everyday life. Their interest lies in highlighting how race has served as both an invisible subject and a necessary object of design. Bringing together some of the leading figures in the emerging field of Black Design studies, this seminar examines the construction and disruption of racial “commonsense” by those whose creative and technical labor often goes unnoticed. Our work will be geared toward recovering historical precedents for and theorizing contemporary applications of Black Design. In so doing, we will take seriously Teju Cole’s recent contention that design is “not [only] an intellectual exercise,” exploring what it means to “do” Black Studies in practice-based fields such as graphic design, illustration, book arts, game design, industrial design, fashion, museum curation, art installation, urban planning, and landscape architecture.

Kinohi Nishikawa, Faculty Convener -  kinohin@princeton.edu


Fall ’18

To be annouced.

Spring ’19

To be annouced.



Surveilling Blackness: Race and the Maximum-Security Society

2018 – 2019
Surveilling Blackness: Race and the Maximum-Security Society

This seminar explores the intersections of technology, surveillance, and inequality. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of facial recognition databases have sparked calls for privacy protections and algorithmic transparency, mainstream protest generally ignores the racialized, gendered, and classed inequalities that fundamentally structure the normalization of surveillance. Blackness is a key site through which surveillance technologies are innovated, concentrated, and justified, but, as Simone Browne has noted, surveillance studies leave race in general and Blackness in particular under-theorized. Over the course of this yearlong seminar, we will situate newer algorithmic, biometric, and information technologies within the longer history of surveillance practices rooted in anti-Black domination, colonialism, and counterinsurgency. This series also explores the freedom practices of anti-surveillance and counter-surveillance, as well as technology’s role in the struggle for liberation. Invited presenters include scholars, activists, and activist-scholars working in the fields of African American studies, law, philosophy, information studies, history, sociology, and statistics.

Fall ’18 (Thursdays)

Nov 8 – Hamid Khan (Stop Spying LAPD Coalition)
Nov 15 – Jordan Camp (Barnard College)
Nov 29 – Jessica Eaglin (University of Indiana Bloomington)

Spring ’19 (Tuesdays)

Feb 12 – Elizabeth Hinton (Harvard University)
March 5 – Mariame Kaba (Social Justice Institute, Barnard Center for Research on Women)
April 2 – Kadija Ferryman (Data & Society)
April 9 – Virginia Eubanks (University of Albany, SUNY)
April 23 – Carla Shedd (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
April 30 – Khalil Muhammad (Harvard Kennedy School)