General Information

Theme: Black Thought Matters

The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) invites you to attend our third annual conference scheduled to take place on March 30-31, 2018 at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Through a series of papers, panel sessions, roundtable discussions, films, and talks, this two-day conference will explore a wide-range of topics including religion, internationalism, slavery, sexuality, popular culture, and political thought. Please click here to view the CFP.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer, and longtime political activist. She has published dozens of articles and essays in popular and scholarly venues, and is most notably the author of a multi award-winning biography of civil rights activist Ella Baker, entitled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, (University of North Carolina, 2003). The book won several national awards including the 2004 Lillian Smith Book Award (Southern Regional Council), the 2003 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize (American Historical Association), the 2003 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize (Association of Black Women Historians), and the 2004 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award (Organization of American Historians). Dr. Ransby’s second book published in 2013 by Yale University Press is a political biography of Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson, entitled Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. This book was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 in the North America Category, and won a Honorable Mention for the 2014 Los Angeles Book Festival in the Biography/Autobiography Category.

In addition to serving in administrative roles as Department Chair and Interim Vice Provost for Programs and Planning, Dr. Ransby serves on the editorial board of the London-based journal, Race and Class, the advisory board of The Chicago Woods Fund, and a number of non-profit, civic, and media organizations. In 2012 she became the second Editor in Chief of Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. Professor Ransby received a BA in History from Columbia University and an MA and PhD in History from the University of Michigan, where she was a Mellon Fellow. She is currently a Distinguished Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago in the Departments of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and History. She also directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative at UIC.

In terms of her activism, Barbara Ransby grew up in Detroit during the 1960s and 70s. She became involved in anti-racist, prisoner solidarity work as a teenager. She continued to organize as a student leader of the anti-Apartheid movement at Columbia and University of Michigan. She was leader of the divestment movement at Columbia and helped to found the Free South Africa Coordinating Committee, United Coalition Against Racism, and the Ella Baker Nelson Mandela Center at the  University of Michigan.  In 1991 Barbara Ransby was co-founder of African American Women in Defense of Ourselves in 1991 and co-convener of the Black Radical Congress in 1998. She has worked with numerous local and national campaigns for social and racial justice and works closely with the Movement for Black Lives and a larger network of feminist activists and scholars. She is currently working with Political Scientist Cathy Cohen to launch Scholars for Social Justice. Dr. Ransby was elected in 2016 to a two-year term as President of the National Women’s Studies Association. She is currently completing a book, Making All Black Lives Matter for University of California Press (2018).


All general participants must be registered for the conference by March 15, 2018 (those who are presenting need to register by January 15). Early bird registration extends from January 1, 2018 to February 14, 2018 and is $20 for AAIHS members; $60 for non-members. Regular registration begins on February 15, 2018 and is $40 for AAIHS members and $120 for non-members. REGISTRATION FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.

Lodging Options
Boston Marriott Newton 
2345 Commonwealth Avenue
Newton, MA 02466
$169.00 per night

Aloft Lexington 
727 Marrett Road – A
Lexington, MA 02421
$129.00 per night

Traveling to/ from Brandeis University

The 2018 AAIHS Conference will be held at the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis University located at 415 South Street, MS 092, Waltham, MA 02453.

Brandeis is nine miles west of Boston, MA.


More than 40 airlines fly into Logan International Airport (BOS). Brandeis University is approximately 20-minute drive from the airport via taxi or app service.


Long Distance: Amtrak trains service the Boston Area. For more information:

Local Trains: The Greater Boston Area also has a regional commuter rail.

Commuter train service is available from Boston’s North Station (Fitchburg/South Acton line) to the Brandeis/Roberts Station that borders the campus. For more information:

Bus: Several Bus companies service Boston’s South Station. For more information:


From Mass. Turnpike (1-90) Eastbound

Take exit 14 for I-05/ Rt 128. Keep left for 95/128 North. While on the ramp, exit immediately onto exit 24 for Route 30. Bear left on Route 30. Turn right at first traffic light onto River Road. Follow this for 1.5 miles, where it turns into South Street. Brandeis is one-half mile ahead at 415 South Street.

From Mass. Turnpike (1-90) Westbound  

Take exit 15B for Weston, Rte. 30. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Park Road. At the traffic light, turn right onto Route 30. Turn left at the next traffic light onto River Road. Follow this for 1.5 miles, where it turns into South Street. Brandeis is one-half mile ahead at 415 South Street.

Travel While Attending the Conference:

AAIHS has arranged for shuttle service to and from the Boston Marriott Newton and Aloft Lexington every 30 minutes.

2018 Conference Planning Committee
  • Gregory Childs (Brandeis University), chair
  • Ashley D. Farmer (Boston University), co-chair
  • Yesenia Barragan (Dartmouth College)
  • Garrett Felber (Harvard University)
  • Christopher Shell (Michigan State University)

Previous Conference Programs

AAIHS 2017 (Nashville, Tennessee)

AAIHS 2016 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)