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.


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


© 2016, Small Axe.


IRAAS Conversations Lecture – “Feeling Arab and Black: Conversations about Race and Disability in Literature”

IRAAS Conversations Lecture 

Thursday March 26th, 2015 6:15pm -8:15pm

Columbia School of Social Work – Room C03

“Feeling Arab and Black: Conversations about Race and Disability in Literature”


Theri Pickens, Assistant Professor of English – Bates College

 In her first book, New Body Politics: Narrating Arab and Black Identity in the Contemporary United States, Therí Pickens begins with following premise: In the increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic American landscape of the present, understanding and bridging dynamic cross-cultural conversations about social and political concerns becomes a complicated humanistic project. What can the experience of corporeality offer social and political discourse? And, how does that discourse change when those bodies belong to Arab Americans and African Americans? By way of answer, she argues that Arab American and African American narratives rely on the body’s fragility, rather than its exceptional strength or emotion, to create urgent social and political critiques.

Suturing critical race studies, and disability studies, Pickens turns to Du Bois’s question “how does it feel to be a problem?” since it hovers over her book project. She zeroes in on the verb “to feel,” accepting the invitation for phenomenological inquiry. In this talk, she examines Du Bois’s question as a framework that opens up new possibilities in analyzing Arab American author Rabih Alameddine. Alameddine’s fiction not only lingers on what it means to ‘feel’ like a problem but also proffers the space of the hospital as a way to orient a critique. Side-stepping the erasure of “Arab as the new Black,” Pickens proffers the conversation between Du Bois and Alameddine as a way to answer the exigencies of feeling, and being now.

Speaker Bio
Her research focuses on Arab American and African American literatures and cultures, Disability Studies, philosophy, and literary theory. She authored New Body Politics: Narrating Arab and Black Identity in the Contemporary United States, which asks: How does a story about embodied experience transform from mere anecdote to social and political critique?

Her critical work has appeared in MELUS, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Women & Performance, Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, Al-Jadid, Journal of Canadian Literature, Al-Raida, the ground-breaking collection, Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions, and the critical volume, Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (Teneo Ltd). She also has more upcoming critical work in the journal, Hypatia.

She is also a creative writer. Her poetry has appeared in Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Save the Date, and Disability Studies Quarterly. Her drama has been performed at the NJ State Theater.

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Contact Information
Columbia University

Institute for Research in African-American Studies

1200 Amsterdam Avenue, 758 Schermerhorn Ext – MC5512

New York, NY 10027