AY24 Faculty-Graduate Seminar: "Black Movement :: Black Stillness" ft. Zahyr Lauren (Artist)

Mar 5, 2024, 5:00 pm6:30 pm
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Graduate Affairs



Event Description

Black Movement :: Black Stillness

This year-long seminar explores quiet, rest, imagination, and play as essential for Black aliveness. What does it mean to imagine Black culture beyond resistance, Black labor buoyed by leisure, Black thought marked by hesitance, Black movements rooted in stillness? We take up these questions in light of Kevin Quashie’s contention in The Sovereignty of Quiet: “Blackness is always supposed to tell us something about race and racism, or about America, or violence and struggle and triumph or poverty and hopefulness. The determination to see blackness only through a social public lens, as if there were no inner life, is racist… and it practically thwarts other ways of reading.” So let us read otherwise.

In reflecting on the relationship between Black movement and stillness, we will consider how labor struggles are, at once, rest struggles. Here, we will take up Tricia Hershey’s critique of grind culture as we question the idea that the purpose of rest is to “recharge” and “refuel” to produce more "output to capitalism.” Engaging Black childhood studies, we will reckon with how play and games are no less important than education and study, and we will reflect on how celebrations of “Black excellence” can obscure Black exhaustion, vulnerability, and disability. As we consider the chronic weathering of Black bodies, we will investigate the importance of sleep and other forms of rest for intergenerational healing. Sleep deprivation, after all, is dream deprivation. But we will insist on dreaming… as the basis of collective organizing and intimate worldmaking.

Taken together, this series is experimental as much as interdisciplinary — practicing, playing, and imagining alongside a wide range of scholars, artists, and activists. If, as Toni Cade Bambara cautioned, “not all speed is movement,” then this seminar invites a slower approach to thinking and being in and beyond the academy.


Meet The Speaker

Zahyr Lauren (they/them), also known as The Artist L.Haz, is a West Coast-based artist, writer, former human rights investigator, and former attorney. L.Haz is the head artist and Chief Space Architect at the arts, education, and space design company Koro Rules The LLC. L.Haz began drawing in 2015 after the surmounting stress of being an attorney resulted in a lost ability to walk. 

The youngest of four siblings, L.Haz comes from a powerful, southern Black matriarchy that migrated from Oklahoma and Mississippi to California with nothing, and made something for generations to come. 

The he(art)work is at once a dedication to the brilliance, resilience, and beauty of their family, as well as a practice of transforming the trauma of being Black in America so that they do not transmit it. Each piece reflects a period of meditative peace. The practice of meditative art has become a mental and emotional salve, helping to cope with the reality of being born into the carceral states most heavily targeted community. 

Event Type
Faculty-Graduate Seminar
Event Category
AAS Event


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Any individual, including visitors to campus, who requires accommodation should contact Dionne Worthy ([email protected]) at least one week in advance of the event.