2/23/17 IRAAS Undergraduate Open House

OPEN HOUSE: AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

DATE & TIME:
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2017

12:00PM TO 2:00PM

African-American Studies Undergraduate Program
OPEN HOUSE
Room 760 Schermerhorn Extension
12 Noon – 2:00 PM
Refreshments will be served

For additional information contact iraas@columbia.edu or (212) 854-7080

Alumni help us fill-in the blank with your brief note via e-mail iraasalumnicouncil@gmail.com “IRAAS taught me…”

Open house

Columbia Law School Paul Robeson Conference February 24, 2017

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The Columbia Law School Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and Columbia Journal of Race and Law (CJRL) are proud to host the 23rd Annual Paul Robeson ’23 Conference, which will be held on Friday, February 24, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Columbia Law School, located at 435 W. 116th St. New York, NY 10027.

Our theme for the 2017 Paul Robeson Conference is Reclaiming the Narrative. In our current legal, political, and social climate, people of color still struggle to dictate their narrative. We aim to highlight the work of legal practitioners, policymakers, social entrepreneurs, and activists to pursue racial justice, uproot structural inequalities, and disrupt stereotypes about people of color.

Please RSVP to this free and exciting event at http://paulrobesonconference2017.eventbrite.com.

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Angela T. Rye, Esq. will give the keynote address during lunchtime. Rye is the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a CNN commentator and NPR political analyst, and former Executive Director and General Counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Khalil Cumberbatch will give the opening keynote address. Cumberbatch is a lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, Manager of Trainings for JustLeadershipUSA, and a formerly incarcerated advocate for social justice movements.

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The Conference will also feature three panels throughout the day, including:

A Path Forward for Democracy and Voting Rights After 2016, featuring:

  • Myrna Pérez ’03, Deputy Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Stuart Naifeh ’04, Senior Counsel, Demos 
  • Joanna Cuevas Ingram, Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF

Building Wealth and Seeking Economic Justice, featuring:

  • Coss Marte, CEO/Founder, Coss Athletics
  • Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq., CEO and Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  • Ifeoma Ike, Esq., Deputy Executive Director, NYC Young Men’s Initiative, Office of Mayor Bill deBlasio
  • JoAnne Page, President and CEO, The Fortune Society
  • Khary Lazarre, Executive Director and Co-Founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

Revolutionary Art, Activism, and the Law, featuring:

  • Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, Alliance of Families for Justice 
  • Ronald Hampton, Immediate Past Executive Director, National Black Police Association 
  • Britton Smith, Actor and Director, Broadway for Black Lives Matter

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Breakfast and lunch will be served, and a reception will follow the Conference.

Please RSVP to this free and exciting event at http://paulrobesonconference2017.eventbrite.com.

Full schedule is available here. Feel free to attend as much or as little as you can.

Questions? Please contact Shane Grannum ’18 at sag2230@columbia.edu.

Shane Grannum

J.D. Candidate | Columbia Law School ’18

A.B. Public Policy; Latin American/Caribbean Studies | Brown University ’15

sag2230@columbia.edu

2/23 – 2/25/17 Pratt Institute – Unity & Struggle Workshop with Tongo Eisen Martin

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Hosted as a part of Pratt Institute’s BlackLivesMatter Teach-In:

Led by Tongo Eisen Martin, the Unity and Struggle workshop will cover realities of late stage imperialism and organizing against it. We will especially focus on consciousness; how do people accept the illusion of a permanent empire or oppressor, what does that counterrevolutionary acceptance look like, and conversely, what is revolutionary consciousness (at least in practice). We will begin to answer for ourselves how do we relate to each other now, and how do we need to relate to each other to win liberation.

RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/sPfx8VEx8xbhBIBV2

For a full list of workshops and events visit www.blacklivesmatterpratt.com

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Share your alumni events to IRAASAlumniCouncil@gmail.com

 

 

2/18/17 Imani Uzuri In Transit: Love Story – Songs of Laughter, Loss, and Resilience

Joe’s Pub

Advance Price: $15
Door Price: $20

Doors at 6PM
Show at 7:30PM

Joe’s Pub at The Public and The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit present Imani Uzuri’s Love Story: Songs of Laughter, Loss and Resilience, a concert of the composer’s original music, both her own independent material and work composed for the latter program’s fall 2016 production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The Mobile Unit continues The Public’s commitment to bring free Shakespeare to communities with limited or no access to the arts by taking plays on tour to correctional facilities, homeless shelters, social service organizations and more. Part of the Mobile Unit and Joe’s Pub’s collaborative series, In Transit, Uzuri’s show will tour, Monday-Friday, February 6-10, to community venues, and culminate with a show at Joe’s Pub on Saturday, February 18 at 7:30PM.

Recently praised in The New York Times for her “stirring” music and her “gorgeously chesty ruminations,” Uzuri is a composer, musician and vocalist known for her multi-faceted, earthy and enveloping compositions. For the Mobile Unit’s production of Hamlet, director Patricia McGregor worked with Uzuri to use music to give texture and depth to the characters and scenes in the play. This collaboration was particularly poignant to Uzuri, who was a Park Avenue Armory Artist-in-Residence in 2015-2016, and maintains a close relationship with Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a women’s mental health shelter located at the Armory.

Imani Uzuri is a vocalist, composer and cultural worker who has been called “a post modernist Bessie Smith” by The Village Voice. She composes music that celebrate her rural North Carolina roots where she grew up singing Spirituals and line-singing hymns with her grandmother and extended family. Time Out New York said, “[Imani Uzuri] never fails to mesmerize audiences with her narcotic blend of…ethereal sounds.”

Called “stunning” by New York Magazine, her compositions for bands, choral ensembles, chamber orchestra, musical theater, theater and solo voice include influences from her travels around the world. Uzuri’s most recent album, The Gypsy Diaries, draws on her roots as well as influences ranging from Sufi devotionals to Romany laments. The Village Voice said, “With a voice that would sound equally at home on an opera stage or a disco 12-inch, Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise…seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.”

Uzuri composed and co-wrote lyrics for her new musical GIRL Shakes Loose, which was selected for the 2016 O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. She was a Park Avenue Armory Artist-In-Residence in 2015-2016 and was recently awarded a Map Fund to begin composing her contemporary opera Hush Arbor. In 2016, Uzuri made her Lincoln Center American Songbook debut as well as being a featured performer on BET for Black Girls Rock. Recently, she was composer for two Public Theater productions: Public Works’s Troy and the Mobile Unit’s Hamlet. She is currently a 2016-17 Jerome Foundation Composer/Sound Artist Fellow.

Share your alumni updates to IRAASAlumniCouncil@gmail.com

2/22/17 “Moving Forward: A Discussion of the 2016 Election and What’s Next”. A panel discussion on Race and Rights in a Moment of Crisis

DATE & TIME:
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

5:00PM TO 7:00PM

“Moving Forward: A Discussion of the 2016 Election and What’s Next“.
A panel discussion on Race and Rights in a Moment of Crisis


Columbia University- Miller Theater
2960 Broadway(116th St.) New York, NY 10027


Ta-Nehisi Coates –Award winning writer, journalist & educator; national correspondent for “The Atlantic”

Jelani Cobb – Professor of Journalism – Columbia University; writer, journalist- “The New Yorker”

Nikole Hannah Jones– Award winning investigative journalist- “New York Times”

Samuel Kelton Roberts – Director of IRAAS; Associate Professor of  History & SocioMedical Sciences-Columbia University; (MODERATOR)

Patricia J. Williams– James L. DohrProfessor of Law- Columbia University


RSVP Required through Eventbrite
https://cu_movingforward.eventbrite.com

Presented in co-sponsorship with
The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity & Inclusion at Columbia University

Affiliate Sponsors

BEYOND THE BARS 2017: SAVE THE DATE AND REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

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BEYOND THE BARS 2017: SAVE THE DATE AND REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Save the Date – Beyond the Bars: Transcending the Punishment Paradigm

March 3-5, 2017

The Beyond the Bars Conference, now going into its 7th year, is an annual event that brings together a trans-disciplinary group to advance the work of ending mass incarceration and mass criminalization and building a just and safe society. Each year scholars, students, activists, advocates, policy makers, government officials and those who have been most directly impacted by issues of incarceration and criminalization come together for three days to deepen our collective analysis, strengthen our network of those working for change and make visible the many ways those from the academy and the community can engage in action.

This year’s conference, Transcending the Punishment Paradigm, will address the criminal justice system’s responses to violence focusing on the following four questions:

  1. What are the root causes of violence within communities? What are the root causes of state violence? How do the two intersect?
  2. What is needed to makes communities safe?
  3. What are the existing narratives about people who have committed violent acts? How do we change those narratives?
  4. When violence happens in the community, what are responses that decrease mass criminalization and incarceration and do not rely on the punishment paradigm?

Request for Proposals

Sunday, March 5, 2017, the third day of the Beyond the Bars conference, will feature 90-minute organizing workshops.  These sessions are designed to facilitate skill-sharing, learning, and active engagement.  The workshops are a chance to present the many political struggles connected to mass criminalization, to teach new tools for advocacy, and to connect participants to opportunities for continued engagement beyond the conference.  What skills do you wish more people had?  What do people need to know in order to contribute more effectively to your work?  What are the concrete steps people can take today to support the work that you’re doing?  We are particularly committed to highlighting the voices and organizing done by: people of color, women, queer and trans people, and young people.

We are interested in proposals that touch on various topics related to violence, including:

  • State violence (including policing, incarceration, deportation, and correctional supervision)
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Community Violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Transformative and restorative justice
  • The distinction between “violent and nonviolent offenders”
  • Trauma and healing
  • Interrupting violence and self-defense
  • Reentry

We are looking forward to learning various skills, including:

  • Self care: how do you do this work while dealing with vicarious trauma?
  • Alternate approaches to combatting violence
  • Anti-oppressive organizational practices
  • Creating political campaigns
  • Community organizing and base building
  • Communicating your message (including the use of social media)
  • Coordinating direct actions
  • Arts-based activism
  • Supporting people experiencing state violence (including currently incarcerated people)
  • Fundraising and budgeting
  • Legal advocacy
  • Mediation

We invite proposals for workshops that address one or more of these foundational topics and skills. In your proposal please emphasize tangible take-aways for participants and the ways you will facilitate this through active participation and/or gaining a deeper understanding of an issue.

Accepted proposals will be interactive and bridge the gap from analysis to action. We are especially excited about workshops that provide the opportunity for continued involvement after the conference weekend—either through one’s individual actions or through involvement with a group.

All workshops will be 1.5 hours long and take place on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at Columbia University School of Social Work.

To submit a proposal, please fill out the following form by January 31, 2017: https://goo.gl/forms/5sbCrf63CgArmQbm2

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments at: workshops.btb.2017@gmail.com

3/11/17 Women Picturing Revolution: Focus on Africa and the African-Diaspora

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Sat, March 11, 2017 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST

Columbia University

1255 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) will host Women Picturing Revolution: Focus on Africa and the African Diaspora, a one day seminar that reclaims and retells history in a manner that is both radical and necessary. From fine art photography made as a personal response to the legacy and locales of slavery, political oppression, and the inability to act, to well-known photojournalists documenting political and social upheavals, this seminar will examine not only the photographs, but also the conditions under which women in and/or from Africa or the African Diaspora make images. In-class content will include analysis of photographic work and projects, partial film screenings, review of related literature, conversations with guest artists, and a look at how contemporary image-makers are using social media. Participants will leave Women Picturing Revolution: Focus on Africa and the African Diaspora with a certificate showing their achievement upon completing the seminar. Participants will also leave with a reference guide equipping them with tools to better understand how women in and/or from Africa or the African Diaspora document resilience, resistance, and creative survival.

This seminar was co-created and will be taught by Lesly Deschler-Canossi and Zoraida Lopez-Diago. The fee for this one-day seminar is $150.00. Please register using the link above.

REGISTER ONLINE

by Columbia University Institute for Research in African American Studies

Faculty Feature – Josef Sorett, PhD

Spirit in the Dark: How African Americans Took Spirituality Mainstream

November 16, 2016
Josef Sorett

Photo by Gabriel Cooney

Spiritual enlightenment can arrive in the unlikeliest of places. For Josef Sorett, it came at an open mic night in a dark nightclub.

It was 1997, and “spoken word was blowing up,” said Sorett, an associate professor of religion and African American Studies and director of Columbia’s Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice. He was there because “I wanted to see how religion takes shape outside of the spaces we see as religious and how it informed debates on what modern black life should look like.”

A poet recited a piece titled, For All You Church-Going Black Folks. It was a criticism of churches and Christianity, said Sorett, “kind of like Malcolm X’s argument: ‘Christianity is the white man’s religion.’”

It struck a chord with Sorett, who was at Boston University getting a master’s degree in religion and literature. “I went home and wrote a poem as a rebuttal,” he said. It then became the inspiration for his dissertation at Harvard University. Now, those arguments have inspired his first book, Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics, which looks at the work of prominent African American authors who influenced black thought and culture from the Harlem Renaissance through the Civil Rights movement.

“I argue that modern African American literature, though it’s typically narrated as being secular, is in fact fundamentally religious,” he said. “You have black writers as early as the late 19th century arguing that other black writers should take up the mantle that had been occupied by the preacher to create a new vision of black life,” Sorett said. “A whole host of artists follow that lead into the 1960s, insisting that it is the writer’s job to create new myths for black people.”

Richard Wright, whose bestselling 1940 novel Native Son was the first book by an African American author to be selected by the Book of the Month Club, is just one example. Native Son uses biblical allegory to demonstrate Wright’s familiarity with Scripture. A member of the Communist Party and outspoken critic of race relations, his political leanings overshadowed the novel’s religious themes and language for most literary scholars.

“Many of the figures I mention, like Wright, are the usual suspects for scholars of African American literature, but they were not typically understood as being religious, when many of them were,” said Sorett.

Even writers who were not religious or claimed to be atheists were influenced by religious ideas and practices, particularly Christianity, said Sorett. They used terms like “the spirit” to help reimagine culture for their community.

And while the myth that African Americans are more religious than the rest of the country persists, Sorett posits that this stereotype exists because of socio-economic politics in the early 20th century. “As America grew and increasingly saw itself as secular, modern and progressive, black people were cast as the foil to this progress. Their apparent hyper-religiosity was taken as evidence,” he said.

At this same time, the black intelligentsia, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks, were demonstrating that even as some African Americans were leaving religion behind, they were still deeply influenced by and attracted to religious themes.

Music plays an important role in Sorett’s book as well, as many artists and intellectuals have noted and valorized the spiritual nature of some black musical traditions. The book’s title was inspired by Aretha Franklin’s 1970 album Spirit in the Dark, which was released after she had solidified her status as the “Queen of Soul.”

Sorett hopes his book sheds light on the persistent influence of religion—from churches, mosques and botanicas to dancing, singing and trances—on modern black life. “Often we think of spirituality as in opposition to religion,” Sorett said. “To the contrary, there is an undeniable spiritual impulse—and often a distinctive Christian vision—at the center of the black literary imagination, even if it is complicated and, at times, contradictory.”

12/2/16 Conference – the caribbean digital III

the caribbean digital III

2 December 2016
Maison Française | Columbia University

Over the course of this day of multiform panel presentations, we will engage critically with the digital as praxis, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities presented by the media technologies that evermore intensely reconfigure the social, historical, and geo-political contours of the Caribbean and its diasporas. Presenters will consider the affordances and limitations of the digital with respect to a wide range of disciplines and methodologies. Discussions will pick up themes addressed in our 2014 inaugural event, our focused conversations at last year’s colloquium, as well as in a special section of sx archipelagos, the peer-reviewed Small Axe Project publishing platform dedicated to Caribbean digital scholarship and scholarship of the Caribbean digital.

Please take the time to explore our site. For each of the conference panels, our generous discussants have proposed differing “ways in” to their respective sessions – some engage pointedly the specifics of panelists’ interventions, while others evoke broader questions about the Caribbean (and the) digital. We have placed these discussion questions below the panel abstracts.

Also plan to join us on Thursday, 1 December, 4-6PM at the Studio@Butler for an information session and workshop devoted to multimedia mapping project In the Same Boats: Toward an Intellectual Cartography of the Afro-Atlantic.

#SXCD2016

This conference is free and open to the public.
Proceedings will be recorded and Livestreamed.

http://caribbeandigitalnyc.net

© 2016, Small Axe.