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.
Emerald Rutledge, who has been working with the blog for the past two years, has agreed to serve as a new Associate editor. Emerald is an English PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received her M.A. in Afro-American Studies. She has received the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School Fellowship as well as an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, which will support her during the dissertation phase of her program. Her research interests include 20th century African American Literature, Black feminisms, and Black queer theory with a special focus on mid-late 20th century Black gay and lesbian literature. Follow her on twitter: @emeraldfaith.
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
Randy M. Browne, a historian of Atlantic slavery who specializes in the British Caribbean, is an associate professor of history at Xavier University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first book, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), focuses on slavery in nineteenth-century Berbice and won the biennial Elsa Goveia Book Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians. Browne’s scholarship has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Library Company of Philadelphia, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Department of Education. His articles have appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly, the New West Indian Guide, and Slavery & Abolition. In 2019-2020, Browne will be the Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow at The Huntington, where he will be working on his current book project on slave drivers in the British Caribbean.
Grace D. Gipson is an Assistant Professor in African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a BA in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, MA in African American Studies at Georgia State University, and a Ph.D. in African American Studies with a designated emphasis in New Media from the University of California Berkeley. As a Black future feminist/pop culture scholar, her research explores Black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Currently, Grace is working on a book project that seeks to explore Black female identities as personified in comics and fandom culture, and a second project examines how online Black female academic and popular networks produce cultural and technical capital, which act as safe spaces that showcase, interrogate, and celebrate the blending of popular culture and the academy. Her work can also be found in various edited collections, and such outlets as Huffington Post, NPR.org, Black Perspectives, FCH Annals. She has taught courses on Africana history, Introduction to Africana Studies, Black Popular Culture, Channeling Blackness in Social Media, Race, Gender and Class in Contemporary South Africa, African American Families, and Making Sense of Cultural Data. Outside of the classroom, you can find Grace participating in one fifth of the #BlackComicsChat twitter podcast crew, working in the community, collecting passport stamps and movie ticket stubs. You can find her on Twitter @GBreezy20.
Leah Kaplan is a PhD student in African American Studies at Northwestern University. Leah holds an MA in Philosophy and Art from Stony Brook University. Her research interests are broadly categorized under Caribbean Philosophy, Black Critical Theory, Critical Phenomenology, and Black Political Thought. . Within these traditions, she is particularly interested in answering questions around time, space, and Black ecology. She is currently an assistant editor at Black Perspectives and her recent work has appeared in Propter Nos. Follow her on Twitter @sous_rature.