The African American Studies Department at
The Pennsylvania State University
is pleased to announce a conference titled

“Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance”

co-sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
October 10-12, 2019
Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center
State College, PA 16803


The conference is the culminating event of the department’s Sawyer Seminar Series, which aims to explore how practices, institutions and laws demographically distribute and neglect civil rights, concentrating the use of force and threat of incarceration on particular communities with limited recourse to investigation and remedy. The series also explores how black communities, particularly youth, artists, and activists, have produced a rich repertoire of aesthetic practices, popular cultural movements, and activist traditions that refute the normalizing logic of racial disposability by asserting the creativity and resilience of Black life. 

Our concluding conference aims to deepen our engagement with questions of disposability and resistance by bringing new voices into the conversation. Keynote speakers include Fred Moten (New York University), Lisa Cacho (University of Illinois), and Roopali Mukherjee (City University of New York). Panels, roundtables, film screenings, and performances will speak to the sub-themes of the series: restructuring criminal justice, redistributing resources, and resisting in/visibility. We aim to bring together researchers, educators, students, activists, and artists across the humanities and social sciences: African American and diaspora studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, literature, media studies, philosophy, sociology, etc. The conference will be archived as part of the Black Intersections Project, the digital humanities component of the Sawyer Series, which will eventually be an interactive resource for teaching, research, and collaboration at the intersections of racial disposability and cultures of resistance.


For more information and to register for the conference please visit:


Our guestroom block that was reserved at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel is now full. Here is a list of potential accommodations:

Country Inn & Suites, ~2.3 mi. from Conference Center

Hilton Garden Inn, ~2.3 mi.

Nittany Lion Inn, ~2.9 mi.

Atherton Hotel, ~3.6 mi.

Hyatt Place, ~4 mi.

*Courtyard, ~4.5 mi.

*Residence Inn, ~4.5 mi. 


 Tag Approved



Contact Morgan Johnson, Sawyer Seminar Graduate Assistant & Conference Coordinator, at