Invited Speakers

Fall 2018

 

Sharad Chari

  • Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley

Sharad Chari is a geographer working at the interface of political economy, historical ethnography, Marxist geography, agrarian studies, Black and subaltern radical traditions and oceanic studies. He is Associate Professor of Geography at UC Berkeley, affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where he recently was in Anthropology and at the interdisciplinary Centre for Indian Studies in Africa. He is the author of  Fraternal Capital: Peasant-workers, self-made men and globalization in provincial India (2004). Fraternal Capital connects ethnographic political economy with an anthrohistorian’s attentiveness to the activation of historical relations in the present, particularly as instruments of subaltern social domination. His latest book project, Apartheid Remains, does three things: it asks how post-apartheid struggles face a set of obstacles inherited from various pasts, it revisits the twentieth century history of state racism and Black struggle to ask how biopolitical tools used to build segregation might have been used to break it down, and it ends with arts of survival in local blues traditions, not least in photography, that conserve the seeds of a post-apartheid future.

Chari’s current project attempts to think with oceanic form from an Afro-Asian oceanic space, where the ‘Black Atlantic’ meets the nonlinear currents of the Indian Ocean, inspired by intellectual and political currents from the Caribbean.

Andy Clarno

  • Associate Professor, Sociology & African American Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago

Andy Clarno is Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and the Acting Director of the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research examines racism, capitalism, colonialism, and empire in the early 21st century, with a focus on the relationship between marginalization and securitization. Andy teaches courses on globalization, race and ethnicity, policing, and urban sociology.

Andy’s new book, Neoliberal Apartheid (University of Chicago Press 2017), analyzes the political, economic, and social changes in South Africa and Palestine/Israel since 1994. In the early 1990s, the South African state was democratized and Black South Africans gained formal legal equality. Palestinians, on the other hand, won neither freedom nor equality and Israel remains a settler colonial state. Despite these differences, neoliberal (de)colonization has generated similar socio-economic changes in both regions: growing inequality, racialized poverty, and advanced strategies for securing the powerful and policing the racialized poor. Neoliberal Apartheid explores this paradox through an analysis of settler colonialism and racial capitalism. This is the first comparative study of social change in South Africa and Palestine/Israel since the 1990s. It addresses the limitations of liberation in South Africa, highlights the impact of neoliberal restructuring in Palestine/Israel, and argues that a new form of neoliberal apartheid has emerged in both regions.

Andy is currently leading a research workshop focused on policing in Chicago. Building on long histories of struggle, communities of color in Chicago are forging powerful solidarities as they confront the criminalization of Black youth, the deportation of Latinxs, and the surveillance of Arab/Muslim communities. Yet most studies of policing analyze these communities in isolation. This project will shift the focus by exploring the relationship between local police departments, federal immigration authorities, and national security agencies. It is designed as a community-engaged research workshop that brings faculty and students at UIC into conversation with community organizations in Chicago.

Robert Connell

  • President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of African American & African Studies, University of California, Davis

Robert Connell is the President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American & African Studies at University of California, Davis. His research is primarily concerned with the environmental dimensions of racial inequality, the distinctive dynamics involved in alleviating this inequality, and the range of political tactics used to achieve such goals. Within this area of focus, he is particularly interested in communities practicing or aspiring to political autonomy. This includes, but is not limited to, contemporary Maroon communities in the Western Hemisphere. Methodologically, Conell is committed to participatory research paradigms. His next project investigates the extent to which the political economic calculations guiding the responses of Caribbean states to autonomous polities is a transnational pattern within the context of the global environmental justice movement.

Iyko Day

  • Associate Professor, English  and Chairperson, Program in Critical Social Thought, Mount Holyoke College

Iyko Day, Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Program in Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College. Iyko Day’s research focuses on the intersection of Asian racialization, Indigeneity, and capitalism in North America.  She has publications that explore the settler biopolitics of landscape art; the settler colonial logics of Japanese internment in Canada, the US, and Australia; as well as articles examining comparative racial formation in Canada and the US and comparative Asian Canadian and Asian American literary history.  Her articles have appeared in journals such as American Quarterly, Amerasia Journal, and Canadian Literature.  Her book, Alien Capital: Asian Racialization and the Logic of Settler Colonial Capitalism (Duke UP, 2016) re-theorizes the history and logic of settler colonialism by examining its intersection with capitalism and the racialization of Asian immigrants to Canada and the United States.  Through an analysis of Asian American and Asian Canadian literature and visual culture, she explores how the historical alignment of Asian bodies and labor with capital’s abstract and negative dimensions became one of settler colonialism’s foundational and defining features.

Macarena Gómez-Barris

  • Chairperson of Social Science & Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute
  • Director, Global South Center

Macarena Gómez-Barris is a cultural critic, author and Chairperson of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She is founder and Director of the Global South Center, a hub for critical inquiry, aesthetic praxis, and experimental forms of social living. Macarena works on cultural memory, race, queer and decolonial theory, and rethinking the anthropocene. She is author of Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards a Sociology of the Trace (2010), The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (2017) and Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Politics in the Americas (forthcoming UC Press, 2018). Macarena is author of numerous essays in art catalogues, including work on Laura Aguilar, Julie Mehretu, Cecilia Vicuna, and Carolina Caycedo, as well as essays in numerous peer reviewed journals. Gómez-Barris is series editor, with Diana Taylor, of Dissident Acts, a Duke University Press Series, and was Fulbright Fellow at FLACSO-Quito in Ecuador (2014–15). She is the current co-editor with Marcial Godoy-Anatavia of e-misférica, an online trilingual journal on hemispheric art and politics (NYU). And, she is a member of the Social Text journal collective. Her instructional focus is on Latinx and Latin American Studies, memory and the afterlives of violence, decolonial theory, the art of social protest, and queer femme epistemes.

Tiffany King

  • Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University

Tiffany (Lethabo) King’s research focuses on Black gender formation and sexuality at the intersection of slavery and indigenous genocide in the U.S. and Canada.  Her book project The Black Shoals: Abolition, Decolonization and Conquest is under contract with Duke University Press. The Black Shoals argues that scholarly traditions within Black Studies that examine Indigenous genocide alongside slavery in the Americas have forged ethical and generative engagements with Native studies—and Native thought—that continue to reinvent the political imaginaries of abolition and decolonization. The book theorizes Black studies—and Black thought—as an off shore formation, or shoal, that interrupts humanist traditions and impulses within the fields of settler colonial, post colonial, Native and gender and sexuality studies.  King is also co editing an anthology titled Otherwise Worlds: Against Settler Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism with Janell Navaro.  This collection of essays features leading scholars in the fields of Black and Indigenous Studies in order to stage a conversation between Black and Indigenous thought and politics on “otherwise” terms that are less meditated by conquest and settler colonial logics.

Jackie Wang

  • PhD Candidate, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Jackie Wang is a queer poet, essayist, filmmaker, performer, alien, and prison abolitionist. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is pursuing a PhD at Harvard University.

She is the author of a number of punk zines including On Being Hard Femme, as well as a collection of dream poems titled Tiny Spelunker of the Oneiro-Womb. Her writing has been published by Lies Journal, Semiotext(e), HTML Giant, BOMBlog, along with numerous zines, such as those by the Moonroot collective. Her essay “Against Innocence” provides insightful analysis on penal and race theory. Her blog, Ballerinas Dance with Machine Guns, reads like a journal that explores writing as process, the personal as political. In Carceral Capitalism (Semiotext(e)/Intervention, 2018), Wang examines contemporary incarceration techniques and illustrates various aspects of the carceral continuum, including the biopolitics of juvenile delinquency, predatory and algorithmic policing, the political economy of fees and fines, and cybernetic governance.  Her latest work, The Twitter Hive Mind Is Dreaming is forthcoming from Robocup Press.

 

2017 – 2018 Speakers


 

Adrienne Brown

  • Assistant Professor, University of Chicago – Department of English
  • Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
  • Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

I specialize in American and African-American cultural production in the 20th century. I am currently exploring the influence of architecture and urban planning on literary form alongside the ways that narrative intervenes in our historical and experiential understandings of space. My work also considers a range of objects beyond the literary, considering the ways TV shows hear, journalists see, and class may be felt, and analyzing race’s sonic and spatial dimensions. I am working on a book recovering the skyscraper’s central role in structuring American social and aesthetic perception in the early twentieth century. Attending to both the skyscraper’s fraught presence in canonical texts as well as the structure’s remarkable presence at Modernism’s generic borders, this project explores how an array of writers approached the skyscraper as a radical instrument of perception that was transforming modernity’s modes of seeing.

Alyosha Goldstein

  • Associate Professor of American Studies, University of New Mexico

Goldstein’s research interests include the study of globalization, neoliberalism, and social movements; comparative histories of imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism; modern liberalism and twentieth-century political culture; critical race and indigenous studies; the history and politics of public health; and social and political theory.

Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century (Duke University Press, 2012), Goldstein’s first book, examines mid-twentieth century community-based antipoverty initiatives in the United States within the context of the Cold War, decolonization movements worldwide, and grassroots struggles for self-determination. This study focuses on the ways in which the negotiation of boundaries—between foreign and domestic, empire and nation, violence and order, dependency and autonomy—were a vital part of racial and gendered struggles over the dynamics of governance and inequality in the United States.  This book analyzes the significance of the institutionalization of community development and efforts to involve poor people, indigenous peoples, and people of color in the planning and administration of programs on their behalf during the 1950s and 1960s.  Goldstein argues that the political utilities of poverty and the constitution of local community as the horizon of political transformation—partially as a surrogate for economic redistribution—were contingent upon tensions between models of self-help and self-determination, and were further catalyzed by the Cold War and the twilight of European colonial rule.  Initiatives such as the War on Poverty’s community action programs promoted self-government, self-improvement, and community development as a means to secure capitalist market relations and social order, even as the relative autonomy and collective action of poor people, communities of color, and indigenous peoples often proved more unruly and antagonistic than envisioned by liberal policymakers. Began as a dissertation in American Studies at NYU, it was awarded the American Studies Association’s Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize in 2005.

Goldstein’s current research focuses on United States colonialism, the normative racial and gendered logics of neoliberalism, and economies of dispossession in the historical present.  He is working on a book manuscript entitled “Colonial Accumulations: Racial Capitalism and the Colonial Present” that uses recent legislation as a critical analytic lens through which to address current debates over racism, colonialism, and other modes ofexpropriation and devaluation, and to examine the jurisprudence of redress during our present era of economic crisis.

Michael Hardt

  • Professor of Literature, Duke University

Michael Hardt (b. 1960) is a political philosopher and literary theorist, best known for three books he co-authored with Antonio Negri: Empire (2000), Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004), and Commonwealth (2009). The trilogy, in particular its first volume—Empire—has often been hailed as the “Communist Manifesto of the 21st Century.” Michael Hardt is a professor of literature at Duke University and a professor of philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS.

Hardt, however, did not begin either as a philosophy or literature student. Indeed, he began as an engineer, receiving a Bachelors of Science from Swarthmore College, in 1983. During this time, Hardt worked for solar energy companies, both in Italy and the USA. This was not an apolitical time in Hardt’s life; rather, he saw work in the field of alternative energy as political: “I thought that doing alternative energy engineering for third world countries would be a way of doing politics that would get out of all this campus political posing that I hated.” After his Bachelors, he turned his attention to comparative literature, and received an MA from the University of Washington, in 1986. Four years later, he would complete a PhD in comparative literature, also at the University of Washington.

Parallel to his studies throughout the 1980s, Hardt participated in the Sanctuary Movement—a political and religious campaign to provide a safe haven in the United States to Central American refugees fleeing civil conflict. The campaign was a response to the American government’s restrictive federal policies for asylum seekers. Later, Hardt would help to organize a project to furnish the University of El Salvador with donated computer hardware and software. During this time, Hardt was also involved in contesting US funded wars across Central America. By his own account, he became progressively more radical over the course of the decade. In the 1980s, he would meet the Italian political philosopher Antonio Negri and begin a collaboration that has lasted to this day.

In addition to Empire (2000), Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (2004), and Commonwealth (2009), Hardt and Negri have also written Labor of Dionysus: a Critique of the State-form (1994) and Declaration (2012). Aside from these works, Hardt has also written Gilles Deleuze: an Apprenticeship in Philosophy (1993), as well as numerous articles, including: The Withering of Civil Society (1995), Prison Time (1997), Affective Labour (1999), Jefferson and Democracy (2007), and How to Write with Four Hands (2013).

Walter Johnson

  • Winthrop Professor of History
  • Professor of African and African American Studies
  • Director, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History
  • Harvard University

Johnson is a historian who has been on the Harvard faculty since 2006. Previously, he was at New York University, after earning a Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College (1988) and a Ph.D from Princeton in University (1995). Johnson’s books, Soul by Soul (1999) and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (2013), are the recipients of numerous awards, including the Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association, the John Hope Franklin Prize from the American Studies Association, the SHEAR Book Prize from the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, and the Frederick Jackson Turner and the Avery O. Craven Prizes from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently writing a book about the central role of St. Louis in the imperialist and racial capitalist history of the United States, from Lewis and Clark to Michael Brown. Professor Johnson is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences; and a Mellon Fellowship in Cultural Studies at Wesleyan University.

Robin D. G. Kelley

  • Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, UCLA

My research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals; music; visual culture; contemporary urban studies; historiography and historical theory; poverty studies and ethnography; colonialism/imperialism; organized labor; constructions of race; Surrealism, Marxism, nationalism, among other things. My essays have appeared in a wide variety of professional journals as well as general publications, including the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Black Music Research Journal, African Studies Review, New York Times (Arts and Leisure), New York Times Magazine, The Crisis, The Nation, The Voice Literary Supplement, Utne Reader, New Labor Forum, Counterpunch, to name a few.

Zenia Kish

  • Lecturer, Stanford Introductory Series – Thinking Matters
  • Stanford University

Zenia Kish works at the intersection of transnational American studies, economic anthropology, media studies, and critical development studies. With a Ph.D. in American studies from New York University and a background in media studies, she brings an interdisciplinary approach to changing articulations of value amidst contemporary crises of inequality and unsustainability. Her current book project is a transnational ethnography of impact investors, tracing the circulation of capital and ideas between investor communities in North America and investment sites in Ghana. She is also engaged in research on how the rise of big data technologies and modeling is reshaping the field of international food security. Her work has been recognized with fellowships and awards from the ACLS/Mellon Foundation, NYU Humanities Initiative, New York University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. As a Thinking Matters teaching fellow, Zenia works collaboratively with senior faculty and other fellows in Stanford’s interdisciplinary introductory studies program.

Lisa Lowe

  • Distinguished Professor of English and Humanities – Tufts University
  • Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora
  • Director of the Center for the Humanities 

Prior to joining Tufts in 2012, Professor Lowe taught at Yale University and at the University of California, San DiegoFrom 1998 to 2001, she served as the chair of the Literature Department at UC San Diego. She began as a scholar of comparative literature, and her work has focused on literatures and cultures of encounter that emerge from histories of colonialism, immigration, and globalization. She is known especially for her work on French and British colonialisms and postcolonial literature, Asian immigration and Asian American studies, race and empire, and comparative global humanities.

Colleen Lye

  • Associate Professor of English – UC Berkeley

Professor Lye is the author of America’s Asia: Racial Form and American Literature, 1893-1945 (Princeton University Press, 2005), a study of the making of “Asiatic racial form” through the mutual influence of literary naturalism and U.S. immigration and foreign policy in an era of U.S. expansion across the Pacific. Her current book-in-progress is a literary history of the Asian American novel after 1968, wherein the novel is understood as both product of and lens onto left cultural politics and the new spirit of capitalism.

Professor Lye is a member of the editorial boards of Representations, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies and Verge. Her book America’s Asia was the recipient of the Cultural Studies Book Award (first prize) from the Association of Asian American Studies, a finalist for the John Hope Franklin Prize from the American Studies Association, and selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. She is the coeditor of several special journal issues: Forms of Asia (with Christopher Bush, Representations, 2007) Financialization and the Culture Industry (with C.D. Blanton and Kent Puckett, Representations 2014), Peripheral Realisms (with Joseph Cleary and Jed Esty, MLQ 2012), The Humanities and the Crisis of the Public University (with Christopher Newfield and James Vernon, Representations 2011), and The Struggle for Public Education in California (with Christopher Newfield, SAQ 2011), which won the MLA’s Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) Award for Best Special Issue of 2011.

Jodi Melamed

  • Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies – Marquette University

Jodi Melamed’s current research aims to provide an anti-racist critique of contemporary global capitalism and an anti-capitalist critique of historically dominant U.S. anti-racisms.  She is the author of Represent and Destroy: Rationalizing Violence in the New Racial Capitalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and a contributor to Strange Affinities: The Sexual and Gender Politics of Comparative Racialization (Duke University Press, 2011) and Keywords for American Cultural Studies (NYU Press, forthcoming). Her next book project, Capital’s Metabolisms investigates representational and relational dimensions of ‘bio-financialization’ (the nexus linking life and financialization) in neoliberalism. Her areas of interest include critical race and ethnic studies, woman of color feminism and queer of color critique, political economy, and culture and globalization.  Her awards, fellowships, and grants include a Fulbright, a Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellowship, and grants from the American Studies Association, the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon Foundation and the Wisconsin Humanities Council.  Currently, she serves as Co-Chair of the American Studies Association’s Program Committee and as a member of the Modern Language Association’s executive committee for the division on sociological approaches to literature.

At Marquette University, Jodi Melamed regularly teaches courses in multiple contemporary U.S. literatures, race and ethnic studies, literary critical theory and practice, and gender and sexuality studies. Recent courses include “African American Literature: Thinking Justice and Inequality Beyond the State and Citizenship,” “Introduction to Critical Ethnic Studies and 20/21st Century U.S. Literature,” and “The Imagination as Social Practice.” Committed to the project of the public use of knowledge (an idea wholly coherent with the mission of MU as an private Jesuit institution), she constantly searches for ways to make research and teaching at MU useful for all of Milwaukee’s communities and to open what counts as “learning” at Marquette University to the formal and informal knowledge embedded in Milwaukee’s multiple publics.