Get Your Life

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It’s up to the artist to use language that can be understood, not hide it in some private code. Most of these jokers don’t even want to use language you and I know or can learn … they would rather sneer at us and be smug, because we ‘fail’ to see what they are driving at. If indeed they are driving at anything—obscurity is usually the refuge of incompetence.
Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land

Filed under robert heinlein stranger in a strange land gradlife blackgirlgradschool power and privilege

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I had the recent pleasure of attending and presenting at Rutgers University’s, Radical Historiographies Graduate Student Symposium.

The symposium, organized and sponsored by the African American and Diaspora Studies Group of the English department, was held at Rutgers – New Brunswick on March 28, 2014. 

I was a part of the 3rd panel of the day, "Making Private History Public: Archives and Historical Sites," moderated by Margarita Castroman.

  • Carrie Y.T. KhoLi, Rutgers University, “Leroi Jones to Amiri Baraka: Living Black Radical Praxis”
  • Dalena Hunter, University of California, Los Angeles,  “Out of the Archival Closet: Opening Black Lesbian Lives to the Historical Record”
  • Alexander Johnston, University of California, Santa Cruz, “The Radical Archive: Attica Distorted, Attica Revealed”
  • Ebonee Davis, Morgan State University, “‘Filling in the Blanks’: Black History Education at Museums and Public Sites”

Honestly, I got in a little late (who knew it would take almost 24 hours to get to JFK airport from Hilo, Hawaii?), but from what I’ve heard, the pre-lunch portion of the conference was phenomenal.  And from what I experienced, the post-lunch activities and keynote were equally amazing!


Are you interested in viewing all of my slides + speech notes?  Want to share archival or black radical research?  Let’s discuss!


My abstract’s below:

“Leroi, Imamu, Amiri: A Man Out of Time,” retraces the trajectory of Baraka’s literary canon (including previously unpublished works housed at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library), meditating on how the work of archiving - specifically, the work of conscious collecting - manifests itself as central to black radical praxis. 

Framing Baraka as author, activist, and archivist, this paper contextualizes Baraka’s life work within an idea of revolution as multiple continuous cyclical processes and insists that black radicalism requires an unearthing of the past and simultaneous grounding in the present.  Black radicalism – an always already self-critical, self-autonomizing act of investigating, assessing, and modifying history’s narrative – as performed by Baraka is a constant dialectic of exca/culti-vation of past and present as both preparation for, and creation of, the future.  Focusing on Baraka’s performance of personal transformation, “Leroi, Imamu, Amiri,” argues that understanding Baraka’s black radical praxis offers a more critical interrogation of Baraka’s canon, as well as a more critical articulation of the possibilities of African American literature as a gauge and tool of social change.

Filed under amiri baraka leroi jones baraka presentations running out of time rutgers university ruradhist black radicalism archiving archive black intellectuals

156 notes

Black bourgeois female intellectuals practice homophobia by omission more often than rabid homophobia…

Michelle Wallace’s Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman is a most obvious example. This brave and scathing analysis of the sexual politics of the black political community after 1965 fails to treat the issues of gay liberation, black lesbianism, or homophobia vis-a-vis the black liberation or the women’s liberation movement… In 1979, when asked at a public lecture at Rutgers University in New Jersey why the book had not addressed the issues of homosexuality and homophobia, the author responded that she was not an ‘expert’ on either issue. But Wallace, by her own admission, was also not an ‘expert’ on the issues she did address in her book….

Hooks does not even mention the word lesbian in her book [Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism]. This is unbearable. Ain’t lesbians women, too? …

Like her black male counterpart, the black woman intellectual is afraid to relinquish heterosexual privilege. So little else is guaranteed black people.
Cheryl Clarke, The Failure to Transform: Homophobia in the Black Community, Home Girls: A Feminist Anthology by Barbara Smith, 205 (via daughterofzami)


Filed under power and privilege

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The healing is never permanent: it requires constant attention and effort. … The body can never return to a pre-scarred state. It is not a matter of getting back to a ‘truer’ self, but instead of claiming the body, scars and all — in a narrative of love and care.
Farah Jasmine Griffin, “Textual Healing: Claiming Black Women’s Bodies, the Erotic and Resistance in Contemporary Novels of Slavery”

Filed under women women's bodies new rules newrules poc woc healing self care self love