AY24 Faculty-Graduate Seminar: "Black Movement :: Black Stillness" ft.Crystal Fleming (Stony Brook University)

Apr 16, 2024, 5:30 pm7:00 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

Crystal Marie Fleming is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Stony Brook University where she serves as Special Advisor to the Provost, contributes to faculty development on antiracist pedagogy and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on racism and ethnic relations, sociological theory and qualitative methods. Later this year, she will join the faculty of Smith College as Professor of Africana Studies. 

Crystal earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in Sociology from Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude as a double major in French and Sociology with honors from Wellesley College. She is the author and editor of four books including Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France (Temple University Press, 2017); the critically acclaimed How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Beacon Press, 2018) and her young adult debut RISE UP! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy (Henry Holt for Young Readers, 2021) . RISE UP! was recognized as a Best Book of 2021 by Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. She is also the co-editor of Beyond White Mindfulness: Critical Perspectives on Racism, Wellbeing and Liberation (2022 Routledge). Her scholarship appears in journals such as Social Problems, The Sociology of Race and EthnicityEthnic and Racial StudiesPoetics and The Du Bois Review. She is currently completing a manuscript for Beacon Press entitled Words to Remake the World: A People’s Dictionary for Social Change. Her current research includes an ethnographic study of antiracism and Black queer life in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

A public intellectual and keynote speaker, Crystal has been regularly featured in a wide range of national and international media, including CNNFrance24ABC, NPR, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, Black Agenda Report, The CBS Sunday Morning Show, The Root, The New York Times, among others. For over a decade, she brought her unapologetic shade, social commentary and political critique to Twitter where she built an audience of nearly 80,000 followers and millions of readers. Dr. Fleming is also an advocate and practitioner of meditation and contemplative practice. She serves on the external board of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University and is a faculty mentor for the Mind & Life Global Majority Leadership and Mentorship Program supporting early career scholars of color conducting research on contemplative practice, mindfulness and spirituality.

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.