Black Perspectives is the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). As engaged scholars, we are deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity. We serve as a medium to advance these critical goals.
Black Perspectives is an outgrowth of the AAIHS blog, which was founded by Christopher Cameron in early 2014. Cameron founded the AAIHS blog to “provide a space for scholars in disparate fields to discuss the many aspects of teaching and researching Black intellectual history.” Despite a rough start, Cameron was able to bring together a diverse group of scholars who agreed to contribute monthly pieces to the blog. By December 2014, the blog included a roster of nearly twenty regular contributors, including Brandon Byrd, Kami Fletcher, Christopher Bonner, Lauren Kientz-Anderson, Emily Owens, Marcia Watson, Chernoh Sesay Jr., Janell Hobson, Greg Childs, Noelle Trent, Brian Purnell, Kellie Carter-Jackson, Keisha N. Blain, Ashley D. Farmer, and Patrick Rael. In 2015, we incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) educational non-profit organization with Chris Cameron as founding president, Keisha N. Blain as founding secretary, and Ashley D. Farmer as founding treasurer. (Read more about the AAIHS organization here).
In 2015, blogger Keisha N. Blain became the senior editor of the AAIHS blog, introducing a roster of 30 regular contributors and working to establish more consistency. To that end, Blain established an editing team, comprised of several graduate students in the field of history and African American Studies, and introduced a peer review process to help improve the overall quality of blog posts. In 2016, Ibram X. Kendi joined the editing team as the first Associate editor, working closely with Blain to expand the blog’s reach and effectiveness.
In January 2017, the AAIHS rebranded itself on multiple fronts. The organization named its blog Black Perspectives, introduced a new website, expanded the roster to 40 regular contributors, and added new content. In 2018, Blain and Kendi were awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History from the American Historical Association (AHA), the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and all professions. Sponsored jointly by the AHA and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University, this prize is awarded annually to honor and support work on an innovative and freely available new media project, and in particular for work that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.
Today Black Perspectives is the leading online platform for public scholarship on global Black thought, history, and culture. Daily content, from a roster of more than 50 regular contributors and guest authors, includes features such as scholarly reflections, book features, online roundtables and forums, book reviews, and author interviews. Learn more about the blog and organization in this recent feature on the Scholarly Kitchen.
Keisha N. Blain is an award-winning historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She completed a PhD in History at Princeton University and current teaches history at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include Black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. She is the author of Set the World On Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and co-editor of New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 2018) and Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her work has been published in several academic journals such as the Journal of Social History and Souls; and popular outlets including the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Feminist Wire. She is the current president of the African American Intellectual History Society. Follow her on Twitter @.
J.T. Roane is assistant professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. He is also part of the University’s urban futures initiative. Roane is broadly concerned about matters of geography, sexuality, and religion in relation to Black communities. He is at work on a manuscript, Dark Agoras: Insurgent Black Social Life and the Politics of Place in Philadelphia, which historicizes multiple modes of insurgent spatial assemblage Black communities articulated in Philadelphia in the second half of the twentieth. Follow him on Twitter @JTRoane.
Sasha Turner is Associate Professor of History at Quinnipiac University where she teaches courses on the Caribbean and the African Diaspora, women, piracy, colonialism, and slavery. She is the author of Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica, which examines the struggles for control over biological reproduction and how central childbearing was to the organization of plantation work, the care of slaves, and the development of their culture. She completed a PhD at Cambridge University. Her research on gender, race, and the body, and women, children, and emotions has been published in the Journal of Women’s History, Slavery and Abolition, and Caribbean Studies and has been supported by Rutgers University Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Studies Fellowship, Washington University in St. Louis African and African American Studies Fellowship, and the Richards Civil War Era Center and Africana Research Center Fellowship at the Pennsylvania State University. She is currently conducting research on her new book project, tentatively titled, Slavery, Emotions, and Gendered Power as a Fellow at Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Follow her on Twitter @drsashaturner.
Guy Emerson Mount is an Assistant Professor of African American History at Auburn University. His work focuses on Black transnationalism, American empire, and the legacies of slavery. Previously he has conducted research on Black sexual politics, masculinity, interracial marriage, mixed race identities, Black religion, and Black radical politics. He has taught courses in African American history, reparations, American history, hip hop, world history, and colonialism. His current book manuscript “From Slavery to Empire: Colonization and Reconstruction in the Black Pacific” traces the complex movements of everyday Black workers as they encountered fellow colonized peoples in Hawai’i and the Philippines during the expansion of American empire abroad. While earning his PhD at the University of Chicago, Professor Mount also co-founded the Reparations at UChicago Working Group that uncovered the university’s historical ties to slavery while organizing for reparations with community organizations on the South Side of Chicago. His next book project, inspired by this work, is a transnational history of reparations that explores the new global praxis of “transformative justice” in light of the historical development of the international Left. In the Fall of 2019 he will begin teaching #AuburnWorldHistoryBehindBars, an open-source classroom collaboration with incarcerated peoples inside the Staton Correctional Facility participating in the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Program. He has been writing for Black Perspectives since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @GuyEmersonMount.
Book Review Editor
Richard M. Mares is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled, “‘Exile is Hell’: Black Internationalism and Robert F. Williams’ Activist Network in the Cold War, 1950-1976.” This project examines the strategies used by an activist network to weather the political climate of the Cold War. Using Robert F. Williams’ life and thought as a nucleus, it explores the lived experience of a select group of African American expatriates during the 1960s and 1970s. This cohort includes Williams, his wife Mabel Robinson Williams, journalists Julian Mayfield and Richard Gibson, activists Mae Mallory and Vicki Garvin, and the civil rights attorney Conrad J. Lynn.
Clayton Finn is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed a BA in African American Studies and an MA in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. His research explores the intersections of culture, race, and identity with specific focus on notions of gender and sexuality in African American respectability politics of the early twentieth century. He is interested in the impact of elites’ standards of gender, sexuality, and racial uplift theory on Black people’s lives and their participation in political activism. He is also interested in the transnational connotations and usage of the N-word across the African Diaspora.
Emerald Rutledge is a 2nd year M.A. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Afro-American Studies Department also earning a certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her research interests include Black queer theory, Black queer cultural productions, and Black feminisms. Follow her on Twitter @ emeraldfaith.
Erica Sterling is a 3rd year PhD student in History at Harvard University also earning a concentration in African and African American Studies. Her research focuses on the relationship between race, rights, and the privatization of education reform in the twentieth century United States. She completed a BA in History and Psychology at Emory University, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.