General Information


The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s Fifth Annual Conference

The Black Radical Tradition

March 6-7, 2020

University of Texas at Austin

In his groundbreaking work Black Marxism, Cedric Robinson located the origins of the Black Radical Tradition primarily in the works of three writers and thinkers: W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and Richard Wright. He noted that the radical thought of all three Black intellectuals emerged in conversation with, and eventually departed from, orthodox Marxism in favor of collective struggle that prioritized Black history and culture and the entanglements of race and capitalist exploitation. Since the publication of Black Marxism in 1983, scholars have expanded on Robinson’s formulation by excavating diverse Black Radical Traditions; by exploring how gender, sexuality, nationality, and ideological debates contributed to Black radicalism; and by locating the tradition among a wider swath of people beyond intellectual and literary elites.

Building on both Robinson’s work and that of contemporary scholars, this conference welcomes interdisciplinary panels that consider the Black Radical Tradition from a variety of perspectives, including, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, religion, secularism, politics, class, popular culture, art, and literature. We also welcome proposals from scholars of Black radical thought outside of the United States, as well as those working on digital humanities and community activism.


Conference Program (Click Here)


Conference Planning Committee:

  • Christopher Cameron, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Chair
  • Ashley Farmer, University of Texas at Austin
  • Charisse Burden-Stelly, Carleton College
  • Phillip Luke Sinitiere, College of Biblical Studies
  • Tiana Wilson, University of Texas at Austin

Keynote Speaker

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. She is the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, which won the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book in 2016. She is also the editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction in 2018.

Her third book, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press.

Taylor is a widely sought public speaker and writer.  In 2016, she was named one that one hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018-2019, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018-2021.

Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesBoston ReviewParis ReviewGuardian, The NationSouls: A Critical Journal of Black PoliticsCulture and SocietyJacobin, and beyond.  Taylor received her PhD in African American Studies at Northwestern University in 2013.  Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Northwestern University, Princeton University, and Lannan Foundation, among others. ​She is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Luncheon Speaker

Robin D.G. Kelley is one of the most distinguished experts on African American studies and a celebrated professor who has lectured at some of America’s highest learning institutions. He is currently Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Kelley recently completed the definitive biography of jazz pianist/composer Thelonious Monk titled, Thelonious Monk: His Story, History Song, His Times and is best known for his books on African American culture: Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working ClassYo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. He is currently working on another book, Speaking in Tongues: Jazz and Modern Africa.

His career spans several esteemed universities, including serving as a Professor of History and Africana at New York University as well as acting as Chairman of NYU’s History Department. While at NYU, Kelley was one of the youngest full professors in the country at 32 years of age. He was also the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia and helped to shape programs at its Institute for Research in African American Studies.

Kelley’s work includes seven books as well as over 100 magazine articles, which have been featured in such publications as The NationMonthly ReviewThe Voice Literary SupplementThe New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineRolling StoneCode MagazineUtne Reader, and  African Studies Review. He received his PhD in US History and MA in African History from UCLA.

Lodging Options
Main Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin-University Area

1617 N Interstate Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78702


Price: $169/night; available from March 5-8, 2020

Booking Link:


Alternate Hotel #1 
Hampton Inn and Suites Austin @The University/Capitol

1701 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701


Price: $219/night available from March 5-8, 2020

Booking Link:


Alternate Hotel #2
Courtyard by Marriot Austin North/Parmer Lane

12330 North, I-35, Austin, TX 78753

**Book by February 20, 2020

Price: $130/night; available from March 5-8, 2020

Booking Link:


**Please note that conference attendees are responsible for their travel to and from the conference site (the UT Austin campus). The main conference hotel and the Hampton Inn and Suites are walking distance from the campus. Traveling from the Courtyard hotel will require the use of a taxi/uber/lyft.

Previous Conference Programs

AAIHS 2019 (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

AAIHS 2018 (Waltham, Massachusetts)

AAIHS 2017(Nashville, Tennessee)

AAIHS 2016 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)