#AAIHS2024: The Past and Future of Reparations

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies (UVA).

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies & the Department of African American and African Studies (AAS), known colloquially as “the Woodson,” are proud to host the 9th annual conference of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).

The conference theme, Reparations: Past, Present, and Future, featuring keynote speakers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Robin Rue Simmons, will address the critical global issue of reparations through interdisciplinary scholarship and multifaceted public engagement, exemplifying AAIHS’ stature as one of the world’s leading scholarly organizations.

We congratulate the AAIHS executive officers, Robert Greene II (President), former Woodson pre-doctoral fellow Shaun Armstead (Vice-President), Candace Cunningham (Secretary), Mickell Carter (Treasurer), DJ Polite (Events Coordinator), and the Conference Committee, Robert Greene II (Chair), Cherisse Jones-Branch, Paula Austin, and former Woodson pre-doctoral fellow Celeste D. Moore for organizing an outstanding program.

Please join us on Thursday evening, March 7th at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to learn more about the fascinating Swords Into Plowshares project that melted down Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue-the lightning rod for white supremacist neo-Nazi riotous murder in August 2017-into bronze ingots that will become the basis of Black community-based works of art. We will also close the conference on Saturday evening, March 9 with a live musical performance by acclaimed, award winning musician, and UVA Professor, JoVia Armstrong.

We welcome all conference participants for what promises to be an unforgettable experience!

While we celebrate the fact that so many leading scholars from around the world are coming to Charlottesville, we also wish to recognize two new books by our own esteemed AAS faculty members, Ashleigh Greene Wade, Black Girl Autopoetics and Andrew Kahrl, The Black Tax, that will be the focus of “Author Meets Engaged Reader” conference panels. Wade’s panel, “Black Childhoods, Intellectual History & Repair: A Discussion” will be on Friday, March 8 at 10:30 am.

Kahrl’s panel, “The Black Tax” will be on Saturday, March 9 at 1:45pm. We also highlight the panel “Towards a Vocabulary of Repair: Black Life in Colombia” on Friday, March 8 at 2:30pm, featuring three of our remarkable scholars, AAS faculty member Fatima Siwaju, Amber Henry (Woodson post-doctoral fellow), and Jameelah Morris (Woodson pre-doctoral fellow).

These highlighted scholars, and members of the AAIHS leadership team, illustrate our internationally renowned fellows’ program and our ascendent AAS department and affiliates that comprise a rich multidisciplinary community of Global Black Studies scholars working across a wide range of geographies, chronologies, and disciplines that include, but are not limited to, African American Studies, African Studies, Caribbean Studies, Afro-Latin American Studies, Black Queer Studies, Environmental Justice, Sociology, Anthropology, African Diasporic Religions, Black Feminism, and Digital and Media Studies.

AAIHS Vice-President Shaun Armstead, AAIHS program committee member Celeste Day Moore, as well as conference panelists Ashleigh Greene Wade, Amber Henry, and Jameelah Morris are among over 200 pre-and-post-doctoral fellows that have earned two-year residential fellowships at the Woodson Institute since 1981.

The distinguished list of Woodson Fellows and Alumni has continuously shaped the contours of scholarship in the broad field of Global Black Studies over the past 43 years. The interdisciplinary nature of the program has fostered the kinds of innovative and boundary crossing scholarship that defines the shining lights of the profession.

During your time here, we welcome you to browse the vast research output of former fellows, archived visually on the walls of Minor Hall and on the digital sign in the foyer. Select print publications will be displayed inside our main office, where you can also pick up information about the Woodson Fellowship program to share with your colleagues and students.

A final word: We are particularly proud to host this conference because this month marks the 11th anniversary of our March 2013 symposium on the topic of Reparations entitled: “Does Reparations Have a Future? Rethinking Racial Justice in a ‘Color-Blind’ Era.” This symposium addressed the topic from different perspectives: reparations in a historical frame, at the University, as a domestic issue and around the globe. We share this detail to highlight the Woodson’s commitment to engaging the public in prominent debates in Global Black Studies scholarship. Since it has been over 10 years from the last major convening on Reparations took place here, we are excited to see how the new future(s) of reparation(s) take shape.

AAIHS, welcome to the Woodson!

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Robert Trent Vinson

Robert Trent Vinson is Director & Chair of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American & African Studies at the University of Virginia and a Research Associate at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He is a scholar and teacher of 19th and 20th century African & African Diaspora history, specializing in the transnational connections between southern Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. Follow him on Twitter @RobertVinson20.

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