September 19, 2018
  • Tentative: Faculty workshop w/Deborah Thomas - "Politics in the Wake of the Plantation"

    September 19, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

    What does it mean to be human – politically – in the wake of the plantation? How have people confronted the unpredictable afterlives of colonialism and slavery, nationalism and state formation, in ways that perform not only a material but also an affective transformation? What does sovereignty feel like? Through ethnographic and multimodal work, I have been interested in thinking through the temporal regimes to which sovereignty projects are tethered in Jamaica, and in how these condition the hegemonic affective states through which they are enacted and experienced. I am interested in exploring the constitution of the political subject not primarily through nationalism, nor through state- (and extra-state-) driven processes of subjectification, but through the cultivation of affects that are shaped by the particular temporal conjunctures in which they emerge. I argue that approaching sovereignty relationally, affectively, and transnationally allows us to gain greater insight into the following kinds of questions: What new forms of community and expectation are produced by violence, and how are these expressed and mapped? What are the broader entanglements that engender specific forms of violence at particular moments? And finally, how do we develop archives of these entanglements, and what might their juxtapositions produce?

    For more information or to RSVP, please email

  • Screening of "Four Days in May," followed by a Q&A with Deborah Thomas

    September 19, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    113 Carnegie Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802

    Four Days in May is a collaboration between Deborah A. Thomas, Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn, and psychologist Deanne M. Bell, this experimental documentary explores the archives generated by state violence by focusing on the 2010 State of Emergency in West Kingston, Jamaica.  In May of that year, the military and police force entered Tivoli Gardens and surrounding communities by force in order to apprehend Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who had been ordered for extradition to the United States to stand trial for gun and drug-related charges.  This resulted in the deaths of at least 75 civilians.  The film features community residents talking about what they experienced during the “incursion,” and naming and memorializing loved ones they lost.  Through the use of archival film and photographs, footage from the U.S. drone that was overhead during the operation, and contemporary hyper-realist film photography, Four Days in May encourages viewers to think about how people in Tivoli Gardens and other “garrisons” negotiate the entanglements among nationalist governments, imperialist practices, and local articulations with illicit international trades.  By juxtaposing archives of state violence in its many structural, symbolic, and material guises, the film also seeks to evoke the affective entanglements these forms of violence reflect and produce, and to imagine how we might newly envision modes of accountability, justice, and repair.

    Learn more about Deborah Thomas HERE

October 4, 2018
  • "To Count or Not to Count: Race in Latin American Censuses, 1776-2020" with G. Reid Andrews

    October 4, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    162 Willard Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

    This talk will focus on the disposability of race and non-white peoples in Latin American censuses. Colonial census officials were vitally interested in racial identities, but national governments gradually eliminated race from national censuses in the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s. Over the last thirty years, black and indigenous movements have demanded the inclusion of racial data in the census; those data now constitute a rich source of information and raise new questions about black and indigenous life in the region.

    Learn more about G. Reid Andrews HERE

October 5, 2018
  • Faculty & Graduate Student Workshop with G. Reid Andrews: “Comparative Disposability in the Americas"

    October 5, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Willard Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

    For more information or to RSVP, email

October 11, 2018
  • "Terrorist, Gang Member, Provocateur: Visuality and (Dis)placement in the Bay Area” with Maryam Kashani

    October 11, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    112 Kern Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802

    In 2013 the city of Oakland, California, began plans to start the second phase of a Homeland Security-sponsored Domain Awareness Center aimed at intensifying and aggregating surveillance around the city. This talk and film performance considers how Muslims in coalition with activists, lawyers, and organizers, mobilized against this program articulating the effects of surveillance, gentrification, and policing on their families, communities, and the possibilities of political dissent.

    Learn more about Maryam Kashani HERE

October 12, 2018
  • Tentative time: Faculty/Grad workshop with Maryam Kashani: "Representation, Resistance, and Refusal"

    October 12, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

    For this workshop, Dr. Kashani will suggest a set of readings and present film/video excerpts that will generate a discussion of how racial logics are configured or disrupted within and beyond a politics of visibility and representation. In an age of mass (self) surveillance and mediated life, what do modes of refusal, opacity, sousveillance, and resistance look like and what may they offer in terms of how we approach image-making and the intersections of visuality, aesthetics, sense, and politics? Possible readings may include works by Kara Keeling, Jodi Melamed, Edouard Glissant, Frantz Fanon, Hito Steyerl, Tina Campt, Simone Brown, Audra Simpson and/or others.

    For more information or to RSVP, email

October 22, 2018
  • Michele Reid-Vazquez: “Countering Disposability: Black Mobility and Resistance in the Age of Revolution”

    October 22, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    160 Willard Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802

    Reid-Vazquez will discuss the ways people of African descent countered disposability in the revolutionary era. From the onset of the Haitian Revolution to the closing of the Latin American wars for independence in the early nineteenth century, men and women of African heritage laid claim to the insurgent ideologies of liberty and equality – ideas that were not meant to apply to them. Black soldiers, refugees, and migrants used geopolitical warfare in the Caribbean basin to craft counter-discourses of freedom and citizenship.This turbulent space also fostered new assemblages of mobility that linked multiple geographies in the quest for racial equality. By engaging these combined modes of resistance, people of African descent envisioned and demanded an alternative reality to enslavement and colonialism.

    Learn more about Michele Reid-Vazquez HERE

October 23, 2018
  • Faculty/Grad workshop with Michele Reid-Vazquez: “Documenting Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Mobilities”

    October 23, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

    Afro-Latin American Studies and Afro-Latino Studies are burgeoning, interconnected research fields at the intersection of Africana Studies andLatin American Studies. Both arenas give voice to the racial, social, cultural, and political struggles and resiliency of communities of Afro-Latin origin inLatin America and the U.S. Moreover, the past few decades have witnessed a surge in multidisciplinary scholarship in these fields that address colonial and modern diasporas, race and gender relations, and transnationalism across the Americas. This workshop seeks to forge a deeper link between Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Studies by exploring examples of sources (archival, literary, oral, digital, and visual) that scholars engage to analyze historical and contemporary experiences of Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Latinos.

    For more information or to RSVP, email

November 8, 2018
  • "The Denial of Anti-Blackness: Multiracial Redemption and Black Suffering" with João Costa Vargas

    November 8, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    160 Willard Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802

    This talk by Dr. Vargas will invite the audience to consider the concept of anti-blackness and the challenges of Black autonomous analysis and political organizing. He will bring to light how progressive research and progressive multiracial efforts that address Black suffering are often unable to engage foundational, structural, multigenerational, and ubiquitous forms of anti-blackness. In multiracial progressive mobilizations of the Black diaspora, Brazil and the U.S more specifically, Black suffering is acknowledged while anti-blackness is negated.

    Learn more about João Costa Vargas HERE

November 9, 2018
  • Faculty workshop w/João Costa Vargas

    November 9, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

    For more information or to RSVP, please email

January 31, 2019
  • Lisa Cacho

    January 31, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    160 Willard Building

February 21, 2019
  • ‘Before the Human: Africans, Sovereigns & Slaves’ with Herman L. Bennett

    February 21, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    This talk by Dr. Bennett asks how might the focus on eighteenth-century race and commodification obscure earlier and equally expansive ideas about difference and dispossession?  In taking up this question as a conceptual starting point, the talk charts a different, if not lost, genealogies of difference and dispossession that defined how Europeans in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries registered their encounter with Africans and subsequently classified some as subjects of sovereigns and other as sovereign-less subjects who could be enslaved.

    Learn more about Herman Bennet HERE

March 21, 2019
  • "The Racial Logics of Extraction" with Christopher Loperena

    March 21, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm