2017 in Review: Roundtables on Black Perspectives

Inmates at Attica State Prison in Attica, N.Y., raise their hands in clenched fists in a show of unity, Sept. 1971, during the Attica uprising, which took the lives of 43 people. (AP Photo)

In 2017, Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), hosted ten online roundtables and forums, featuring leading scholars and important topics in African American History. As the year closes, the editors at Black Perspectives have chosen to provide our readers with this list of roundtables and forums in order to celebrate this accomplishment. We also want to take this opportunity to thank our contributors, our collaborators, and our readers. We plan to feature more exciting roundtables and forums in 2018 and hope that you will join us. If you would like to submit a proposal for an online forum on a particular topic, please contact us for more details. 


Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water

In partnership with the Journal of Civil and Human Rights (JCHR), we hosted a roundtable on Heather Ann Thompson‘s Blood in the Waterexploring state violence, the archive, trauma, and storytelling as resistance. Michael Ezra moderated the roundtable and it featured responses from Kali Nicole GrossRobert Chase; Danielle McGuireDan Berger; LaShawn D. Harrisand Russell RickfordProfessor Thompson offered concluding remarks. Click here to read the essays.

Remembering Malcolm

In recognition of the 52nd anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, we hosted “Remembering Malcolm” to bring together a diverse group of scholars to reflect on Malcolm’s life and legacy. The week-long forum allowed scholars to offer insights on the lasting influence and significance of Malcolm, including meditations on public memory, anti-imperialism, love and antiracist philosophy. Organized by Garrett Felber, the forum featured essays by Laura Warren HillAlaina M. MorganIbram X. KendiAmy OngiriZaheer Ali and Russell Rickford. Click here to read the essays.

Sowande’ Mustakeem’s Slavery at Sea

In March, we hosted a roundtable on Sowande’ Mustakeem‘s Slavery at Sea, which delved into Mustakeem’s consideration of the violence, memory, morality, and death within the transatlantic slave trade. Jessica Marie Johnson moderated the roundtable which featured responses from Doug EgertonMarisa Fuentes; Jessica MillwardVanessa Holden; and Joshua D. Rothman. Professor Mustakeem offered concluding remarks. Click here to read the essays.

Black Women and the Politics of Respectability

In partnership with Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics, and Society, we hosted the forum “Black Women and the Politics of Respectability.” This week-long forum interrogated the ways in which representations of African American women can be silenced–or resisted–through moral contestation and conformity in mass culture. It grappled with how the “politics of respectability,” a phrase coined by historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, shaped black women’s lives and experiences from the early twentieth century to the present. It featured essays by Ralina L. JosephJane Rhodes; Sara P. DíazKatharina Fackler; and Julian Kevon Glover. Click here to read the essays.

Gerald Horne’s Radical Black History

To honor the scholarship of Gerald Horne, we hosted the forum “Gerald Horne’s Radical Black History” in which scholars used Horne’s work to reflect on pressing themes in black history’s global reach. Due to his prolific career, scholars addressed various aspects of Horne’s contributions to our knowledge on African American History, including his books on slavery, Caribbean history, and transpacific black history, along with his biographies, and works on W. E. B. Du Bois. Organized by Phillip Luke Sinitiere, the forum featured essays by Yuichiro OnishiJessica Marie JohnsonBrandon ByrdPhillip Luke Sinitiere; and Charisse Burden-Stelly. At the conclusion of the roundtable, Professor Horne responded. Click here to read the essays.

Robyn Spencer’s The Revolution Has Come

In partnership with the Journal of Civil and Human Rights (JCHR), we hosted a roundtable on Robyn Spencer‘s The Revolution Has Come, which discussed central themes in the book including state repression, gender, grassroots activism, and its innovative look at the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party. The roundtable featured posts from Michael Ezra; Ashley D. FarmerGarrett FelberTracy E. K’MeyerIbram X. Kendi; and Quito Swan. Professor Spencer offered concluding remarks. Click here to read the essays.

Judith Weisenfeld’s New World A-Coming

In collaboration with the Journal of Africana Religions, we hosted a roundtable on Judith Weisenfeld‘s New World A-Coming that explored the book’s central themes of religion, identity and migration during the twentieth centuryModerated by Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant, the roundtable featured responses from Emily ClarkChernoh Sesay Jr.Danielle Brune Sigler; and Tisa Wenger. On the final day, Professor Weisenfeld offered concluding remarks. Click here to read the essays.

Devyn Spence Benson’s Antiracism in Cuba

In the fall, we hosted a roundtable on Devyn Spence Benson‘s Antiracism in Cuba. The week-long forum explored the ideology and rhetoric around race in Cuba during the Cuban revolution. It featured responses from Yesenia Barragan; Aisha Finch; Nancy Raquel Mirabal; Melina Pappademos; and Sandy Placido. On the final day, Professor Benson offered concluding remarks. Click here to read the essays.

Black October: The Russian Revolution and the African Diaspora

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, we hosted an online forum, “Black October,” which explored the Revolution and its consequences for the Black diaspora. Organized and moderated by Jennifer Wilson and Jennifer Suchland, the forum featured essays from Hakim AdiKate Cowcher; Rossen Djagalov; Raquel GreeneChristina KiaerDenise Lynn; and Russell RickfordClick here to read the essays.

Race, Property, and Economic History

Most recently, we hosted an online forum on race, property and economic history. This week-long forum examined a range of key topics in race and economic history, including gentrification, segregation and economic inequalities. Organized and moderated by Walter D. Greason, the forum featured essays from C.N.E. CorbinKasturi “Rumu” DasGuptaDevin FergusPaige GlotzerTomas Gonzalez, and Zebulon Vance Miletsky. Click here to read the essays.

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