10/25/17 Dr. Jafari Allen at Columbia University Department Anthropology
10/25/17 Dr. Jafari Allen at Columbia University Department Anthropology
East Pinetum – Central Park
Create a collaborative installation with Fictions artist Allison Janae Hamilton as we help celebrate 50 Years of Public Art in NYC Parks! On Saturday, October 21, the Studio Museum will join 50+ artists and arts organizations in transforming Central Park’s East Pinetum field into an open platform for public art inspired by the NYC Parks Department’s landmark program. Tapping into Hamilton’s practice of creating immersive spaces using plant matter, layered imagery and sounds, visitors are invited to explore the Park’s social history and participate in the creation of an art work in honor of Seneca Village.
Source: Studio Museum of Harlem
To culminate the start of summer, end of the semester and graduation off IRAAS MA and undergraduates we want to celebrate with IAC Spring Mixer.
Date Friday, May 5, 2016
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Chocolat Restaurant &Bar
2223 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Come join us for food, drinks and good times!!!
The mixer will occur directly after IRAAS Conversations that will take place from at 4:00 pm in 754 Schemerhorn.
In order to prepare for food / drinks RSVP before 5/4/17
Kindly RSVP to email@example.com
African-American Studies Undergraduate Program
Room 760 Schermerhorn Extension
12 Noon – 2:00 PM
Refreshments will be served
For additional information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 854-7080
Alumni help us fill-in the blank with your brief note via e-mail email@example.com “IRAAS taught me…”
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
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:
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:
We are looking forward to learning various skills, including:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat, March 11, 2017 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST
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.
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.”