Faculty Highlight

  • Contraband Flesh: On Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon

    Friday, May 3, 2019
    More simply put, in Hurston’s syntactic structure Lewis cannot be reduced to an object, the piece of wood that should make material what otherwise exists in memories, stories, and oral histories. And thus, in this brief moment, Hurston evokes the question that she would grapple with over and over in her career: How do you produce evidence of black life without reducing black folk to inanimate facts and data?
  • Black AfterLives Matter

    Monday, Apr 29, 2019
    Vampirically, white vitality feeds on black demise—from the extraction of (re)productive slave labor to build the nation’s wealth to the ongoing erection of prison complexes to resuscitate rural economies—in these ways and many more, white life and black death are inextricable. Racist structures not only produce, but reproduce whiteness, by resuscitating the myth of white innocence that inheres in the racial status quo. Racist systems are thereby reproductive systems.
  • A Roundtable conversation — “Religion ‘around’ Langston Hughes, Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison”

    Friday, May 3, 2019
    While Langston Hughes, Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison are not known as being “religious” figures, they have, in a way, become “sacred” figures. Revered, iconic and inspirational, their essential work contributed mightily to the creative climate of twentieth-century America, and did so in the midst of complex and evolving religious currents they, along with many in their generation, had to navigate.
  • Photography into Paint by Prof ARABINDAN-KESSON

    Monday, Mar 25, 2019
    Barkley L. Hendricks’s work has been compared to the realism of artists like Philip Pearlstein and William Bailey, both of whom were included in an exhibition entitled Seven Realists held at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, in 1974, the same year that Family Jules (No Naked Niggahs) 1974 (Tate L02979) was painted.1Hendricks’s art has also been discussed in relation to the photorealist work of artists like Chuck Close, whose portrait paintings – based on photographs – present close, geometrical studies of his subjects.
  • The Return of the Repressed

    Thursday, May 2, 2019
    JORDAN PEELE HAS STOCKED his film Us with enough terrifying, indelible images to haunt viewers’ dreams for many nights after they leave the theater: golden shears, caged white rabbits, hands dripping blood, and a creepy, animatronic owl that gets its comeuppance toward the movie’s end. Among these images is one more: a massive, eerily lit escalator whose toothy, moving grates connect the charmed aboveground world of road trips and rosé with its unseemly and unseen subterranean counterpart. The escalator makes the horrors of Peele’s film possible; it also explains the story that Us wants to tell us about living in the United States in 2019.
  • [AAS21 Podcast] Episode #16: Black Bodies, White Gold

    Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019
    In this episode, Prof. Eddie Glaude discusses with Professor Anna Arabindan-Kesson her application of research on textiles, music, and photography for her upcoming work Black Bodies White Gold. Professor Kesson, an Art Historian at heart, reveals the history and connections of blacks and cotton and their turbulent history across America and Europe. Not only does she examine the economic equivalence, in which enslaved people and cotton were commodities in the eyes of the law, but she also explores how it physically framed the way a slave looked, and in turn felt. Ultimately with this research, her goal is to examine how this history complicates what it means to be free and black in today’s world.
  • Imani Perry awarded the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

    Friday, Mar 1, 2019
    The PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography is awarded for excellence in the art of biography. This prize of $5,000 goes to the author of a distinguished work published in the United States during the previous calendar year. The winning title is considered by the judges to be a work of exceptional literary, narrative, and artistic merit, based on scrupulous research.

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