Upcoming Roundtables and Forums

Online Roundtable on Heather Thompson’s Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon Books, 2016)
*In collaboration with the Journal of Civil and Human Rights*
January 22-27, 2017


Moderator: Mike Ezra, JCHR editor (Sonoma State University)

Participants: Kali Gross (Wesleyan University); Robert Chase (Stony Brook University); Dan Berger (University of Washington, Bothell); Danielle McGuire (Wayne State University); LaShawn Harris (Michigan State University); and Russell Rickford (Cornell University)

About the Book:

On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed.

On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men—hostages as well as prisoners—and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed.

Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

*Extended versions of the blog posts will appear in the journal’s May 2017 issue. The Journal of Civil and Human Rights is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, academic journal dedicated to studying modern U.S.-based social justice movements and freedom struggles, including transnational ones, and their antecedents, influence, and legacies. The journal features an editor’s note, research-based articles, interviews, editorials, state-of-the-field pieces, and book forums.

Online Forum: “Remembering Malcolm”
February 19-25, 2017

In recognition of the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, this forum brings together a diverse group of scholars to reflect on his life and legacy. During this week-long forum, each scholar will offer insights on the lasting influence and significance of Malcolm’s ideas for current political movements in the United States and abroad.

Moderator: Garrett Felber (University of Michigan)

Participants: Zaheer Ali (Brooklyn Historical Society); Laura Warren Hill (Bloomfield College); Alaina Morgan (New York University); Ibram X. Kendi (University of Florida); Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California); Amy Ongiri (Lawrence University); and Russell Rickford (Cornell University)

Online Roundtable on Sowande’ Mustakeem’s Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage (University of Illinois Press, 2016)
April 2017 (Final Dates TBA)


Moderator: Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins University)

Participants: Doug Egerton (LeMoyne College); Marisa Fuentes (Rutgers University, New Brunswick); Jessica Millward (University of California, Irvine); Vanessa Holden (Michigan State University); Joshua D. Rothman (University of Alabama)

About the Book:

Most times left solely within the confine of plantation narratives, slavery was far from a land-based phenomenon. This book reveals for the first time how it took critical shape at sea. Expanding the gaze even more deeply, the book centers how the oceanic transport of human cargoes–infamously known as the Middle Passage–comprised a violently regulated process foundational to the institution of bondage.

Sowande’ Mustakeem’s groundbreaking study goes inside the Atlantic slave trade to explore the social conditions and human costs embedded in the world of maritime slavery. Mining ship logs, records and personal documents, Mustakeem teases out the social histories produced between those on traveling ships: slaves, captains, sailors, and surgeons. As she shows, crewmen manufactured captives through enforced dependency, relentless cycles of physical, psychological terror, and pain that led to the the making–and unmaking–of enslaved Africans held and transported onboard slave ships. Mustakeem relates how this process, and related power struggles, played out not just for adult men, but also for women, children, teens, infants, nursing mothers, the elderly, diseased, ailing, and dying. Mustakeem offers provocative new insights into how gender, health, age, illness, and medical treatment intersected with trauma and violence transformed human beings into the world’s most commercially sought commodity for over four centuries.