Wednesday afternoons 4:30-6:00pm, Stanhope Hall, Barfield – Johnson Seminar Room (201)
Faculty Convener: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
In the 2017-18 Faculty-Graduate Seminar, How We Get Free: The Black Political Imagination, we will think expansively about the meaning of “Black politics” and its relationship to the persistent Black struggle for “freedom”. In this sense, I hope that all works presented can also engage with the meaning of freedom, its articulation and the ways that it shapes Black political struggle. We will explore these concepts in different geographies, historical periods, and social contexts. Black politics is multifaceted even as the status quo has tried to narrow it into the actions and campaigns of Black elected officials. While this is an important site of politics, “Black politics” is not reducible to American electoral aspirations or achievements. Considering Robin Kelley’s “infra politics” and the everyday resistance of the status quo or the theoretical innovations of the Black Feminist Combahee River Collective in the early 1970s, Black politics can be conceived of as assessing the contemporary moment and calculating what is necessary to survive and advance individually and collectively. This process of determining the meaning and emphasis about Black politics is, of course, part of the debate we will engage in over the course of the semester.
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.