PAST EVENTS

November 13, 2017
  • "Long Midnight Hour: Race in the Age of Trump" with Jelani Cobb

    November 13, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Willard 362

    Jelani Cobb is an American author and educator. The Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, Cobb was previously an associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut from 2012-2016. Since 2015, he has been a staff writer at The New Yorker.


    This event is free and open to the public.

January 31, 2018
  • "Activism 101" with James Forman

    January 31, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Sparks Building, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 124

    Forman will meet with African American Studies undergraduate majors and minors to discuss criminal justice activism in the twenty-first century.

  • “Can the Criminal Justice System Ever Be Just?” with James Forman

    January 31, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm 112 Kern Building, State College, PA 16802, USA

    In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. James Forman, Jr. points out, however, that the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. His book and talk seek to understand why.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about James Forman HERE

February 8, 2018
  • Screening of "Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of Rebels," followed by a Q&A with Marcus Rediker and Tony Buba

    February 8, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm The State Theatre, 130 W College Ave, State College, PA 16801, USA

    This documentary by Tony Buba is based on Marcus Rediker’s The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Viking-Penguin, 2012). It chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839, to interview elders about local memory of the case, and to search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where their cruel transatlantic voyage began. The film uses the knowledge of villagers, fishermen, and truck drivers to recover a lost history from below in the struggle against slavery.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Marcus Rediker HERE
    Learn more about Tony Buba HERE

February 9, 2018
  • "Ghosts of Amistad: In the Footsteps of Rebels" with Marcus Rediker and Tony Buba

    February 9, 2018 State College Area School District, PA, USA

    This documentary by Tony Buba is based on Marcus Rediker’s The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Viking-Penguin, 2012). It chronicles a trip to Sierra Leone in 2013 to visit the home villages of the people who seized the slave schooner Amistad in 1839, to interview elders about local memory of the case, and to search for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory where their cruel transatlantic voyage began. The film uses the knowledge of villagers, fishermen, and truck drivers to recover a lost history from below in the struggle against slavery.  

    • This event is for SCASD students only. It is closed to the public.
February 14, 2018
  • "Unsportsmanlike Conduct: The Intersections of Sport and Sexual Violence" with Jessica Luther

    February 14, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Chambers Building Penn State University, Penn State University, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 101

    Luther will discuss the systemic ways sports, as particular microcosm of our culture, minimizes and ignores issues of gendered violence. Her work most often touches on the particular intersection of college football and sexual violence, but the way that money, institutional hierarchy on campuses, compliance with Title IX, and sports culture and fandom come together is applicable well beyond that. Her talk will touch on all of these issues and provide some ideas for how to begin to fix them.  

    Learn more about Jessica Luther HERE

February 22, 2018
  • "Runaway Genres: Global Afterlives of Slavery"—Roger Reeves in conversation with Yogita Goyal

    February 22, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Willard Building, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 160

    This public event will feature award-winning poet Roger Reeves (author of King Me [2013]) in conversation with scholar Yogita Goyal (author of Romance, Diaspora, and Black Atlantic Literature [2010]). Professor Goyal will present research from her forthcoming scholarly book on the emergence of Atlantic slavery as the defining template through which current forms of human rights abuses are understood. Professor Reeves will be reading from and speaking about his poetry. Following their individual presentations, Goyal and Reeves will discuss their work in tandem and will respond to questions from the audience.  

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Roger Reeves HERE
    Learn more about Yogita Goyal HERE

March 15, 2018
  • "'Unsophisticated Buyers': Black Homeownership and the end of the Urban Crisis in the 1970s" with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    March 15, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Sparks Building, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 10

    At the end of the 1960s, the federal government officially ended its long history of excluding African Americans from policies designed to encourage homeownership. In the wake of urban uprising and in response to growing Black income, federal officials partnered with private institutions connected to the real estate industry to promote homeownership in cities across the country. These new policies did not constitute big government” instead they opened a new era of “partnership” between capital and the state in the provision of low-income housing. The new approach to resolving the longstanding issue of the dearth of safe and sound urban housing raised critical questions about market based solutions in resolving issues rooted in economic and racial inequality. The focus on the resolution of “redlining” and other means of exclusion have posited “inclusion” as the solution, but without attending to the cause of exclusion in the first place—racial discrimination—would “inclusion” alone resolve the imprint of discrimination on the real estate market? This talk engages those and other questions pertaining to whether public-private partnerships are a viable solution to the chronic housing crisis in the United States.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor HERE

March 16, 2018
  • Graduate Student Breakfast with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    March 16, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am

    Taylor will join African American Studies dual-degree graduate students for a discussion over breakfast.

    Learn more about Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor HERE

March 26, 2018
  • Roundtable with David J. Leonard

    March 26, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Sparks Building, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 124

    David J. Leonard will join the Seminar's Penn State Working Group and African American Studies dual-degree graduate students for a discussion of race and sport.

  • "Playing While White: Power, Privilege and the Politics of Protest" with David J. Leonard

    March 26, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Chambers Building Penn State University, Penn State University, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 101

    While black athletes, from the WNBA to the NFL, are using their platforms to protest injustice, white athletes are cashing in on their options. They are empowered to speak out, or be silent, to engage in organized politics or simply focus on the game. #PlayingWhileWhite

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about David J. Leonard HERE

April 17, 2018
  • "Anthropology and the Riddle of White Supremacy" with Junaid Rana

    April 17, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm Willard Building, State College, PA 16802, USA - Room 62

    This talk explores how social science disciplines such as anthropology have addressed the concepts of racism and white supremacy. Drawing on the exchange published as A Rap on Race between anthropologist Margaret Mead and writer James Baldwin that pitted them between racial liberalism and a critique of white supremacy, I focus on how their discussion highlighted religion and moral belief as integral concepts related to racism. In the Mead and Baldwin conversation, the connection of Christianity to white supremacy reveals a complex conjuring of Islam and Muslims that I describe as racecraft, and that have implications for how we continue to theorize and study white supremacy and racism.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Junaid Rana HERE

April 18, 2018
  • Workshop with Junaid Rana

    April 18, 2018 @ 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm Sparks Building, State College, PA 16801, USA - Room 124

    Workshop participants will read Rana's article, "The Racial Infrastructure of the Terror Industrial Complex," published in Social Text in 2016. The article builds upon themes from Rana's talk, particularly about racialization.

September 19, 2018
  • 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 forces 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.


    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Deborah Thomas HERE

  • Reservation at Spats at the Grill (Hotel State College) - D. Thomas/T. Tounsel

    September 19, 2018 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Spats at the Grill (Hotel State College), 100 WEST COLLEGE AVENUE, State College, PA, United States, 16801-3838

    Spats at the Grill (Hotel State College)
    100 WEST COLLEGE AVENUE, State College, PA, United States, 16801-3838
    +1 814-231-4745

September 20, 2018
  • Faculty workshop w/Deborah Thomas - "Politics in the Wake of the Plantation"

    September 20, 2018 @ 10:45 am - 12:15 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 mellonsawyer@psu.edu

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.


    This event is free and open to the public.

    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

    This workshop will ask participants to read an essay from Afro-Latin American Studies: An Introduction, G. Reid Andrews’ and Alejandro de la Fuente’s co-edited book, that aligns with their interests and research. Attendees should come prepared to share their thoughts, impressions, and questions with other workshop participants so as to engage in a conversation about comparison and transnational work with race in the Americas. Digital copies of the edited volume will be available to participants.
    For more information or to RSVP, email mellonsawyer@psu.edu

October 11, 2018
  • CANCELED: "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.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Maryam Kashani HERE

October 23, 2018
  • “Countering Disposability: Black Mobility and Resistance in the Age of Revolution” with Michele Reid-Vazquez

    October 23, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 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.

    This event is free and open to the public.

    Learn more about Michele Reid-Vazquez HERE

  • Reservation at Gigi's Southern Table

    October 23, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Gigi's Southern Table, 2080 Cato Ave., State College, PA, United States, 16801

    Gigi's Southern Table
    2080 Cato Ave., State College, PA, United States, 16801
    +1 814-861-3463

October 24, 2018
  • Faculty/Grad workshop with Michele Reid-Vazquez: “Documenting Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Mobilities”

    October 24, 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 and Latin American Studies. Both arenas give voice to the racial, social, cultural, and political struggles and resiliency of communities of Afro-Latin origin in Latin 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 mellonsawyer@psu.edu