Online Roundtable: Keisha N. Blain’s ‘Set the World on Fire’

September 24-28, 2018

Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is collaborating with the Journal of Civil and Human Rights (JCHR)* to host a roundtable on Keisha N. Blain’s Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Penn Press, 2018). It begins on Monday, September 24, 2018, and concludes on Friday, September 28, 2018. Printed versions of the responses will be published in the JCHR in Issue 5:1 (May 2019). The roundtable will feature responses from Brandon R. Byrd (Vanderbilt University), Carole Boyce Davies (Cornell University), Lisa Levenstein (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), Kennetta Hammond Perry (De Montfort University), and Robert Trent Vinson (College of William and Mary). On the final day, Keisha N. Blain (University of Pittsburgh) will offer concluding remarks.

During the week of the online roundtable, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:30AM EST. Please follow Black Perspectives (@BlkPerspectives) and AAIHS (@AAIHS) on Twitter; like AAIHS on Facebook; or subscribe to our blog for updates. By subscribing to Black Perspectives, each new post will automatically be delivered to your inbox during the week of the roundtable.

About the Author

Keisha N. Blain is a 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 currently 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 PostThe Washington Postand The Feminist Wire. She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of Civil and Human Rights, and the Journal of African American History. She is the current president of the African American Intellectual History Society and senior editor of its award-winning blog Black Perspectives. Follow her on Twitter @KeishaBlain.

About the Participants

Brandon R. Byrd is an Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and an intellectual historian of the 19th and 20th century United States with specializations in African American History and the African Diaspora. He has published articles in numerous outlets including Slavery & Abolition and The Journal of Haitian Studies and his first book, The Black Republic: African Americans, Haiti, and the Rise of Radical Black Internationalism, is forthcoming with the University of Pennsylvania Press. He is the co-editor of two forthcoming edited volumes: one on the Black intellectual tradition (Northwestern University Press) and a second entitled Haiti for the Haitians, an annotated translation of Haitian intellectual Louis Joseph Janvier’s life and work (Liverpool University Press). Along with co-editing the Black Lives and Liberation series published by Vanderbilt University Press, Byrd is also vice president of the African American Intellectual History Society. Follow him on Twitter @bronaldbyrd.

Carole Boyce Davies is a professor of English and Africana Studies at Cornell University. She has held distinguished professorships at a number of institutions, including the Herskovits Professor of African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literary Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994) and Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008). In addition to numerous scholarly articles, Boyce Davies has also published the following critical anthologies: Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature (Africa World Press, 1986); Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature (Africa World Press, 1990); and a two-volume collection of critical and creative writing entitled Moving Beyond Boundaries (New York University Press, 1995): International Dimensions of Black Women’s Writing (volume 1), and Black Women’s Diasporas (volume 2). She is co-editor with Ali Mazrui and Isidore Okpewho of The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (Indiana University Press, 1999) and Decolonizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003). She is general editor of the three-volume, The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2008), and of Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment:  Autobiography, Essays, Poetry (Banbury: Ayebia, 2011). Her most recent monograph is Caribbean Spaces: Escape Routes from Twilight Zones (Illinois, 2013) and a children’s book, Walking (EducaVision, 2016). Follow her on Twitter @Ca_Rule.

Lisa Levenstein is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of the award-winning, A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia (UNC Press, 2009). Levenstein writes pieces on the recent history of women’s activism in the United States for both academic and popular audiences. She has held fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy, the National Humanities Center, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Her current book project is on the reconstitution of US feminism in the 1990s and beyond (under contract with Basic Books). Follow her on Twitter @lisalevenstein.

Kennetta Hammond Perry is the Director of the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. She specializes in Atlantic World history with a particular emphasis on transnational race politics, empire, migration and movements for citizenship among people of African descent in Europe, the Caribbean and the United States. Perry teaches courses in the department of History and the program in African and African American Studies. She is the author of London Is The Place For Me:Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford University Press, 2015), which examines how a largely Afro-Caribbean population of Black Britons advocated for citizenship rights and transformed the political landscape in Britain in the decades following World War II. Her work has been featured in several journals, including the Journal of British Studies, Atlantic Studies and Twentieth Century British History. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including a predoctoral research fellowship at the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African &African American Studies and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of History at Duke University. Additionally, she has received research support from the American Council of Learned Societies and she is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center. Her current book project is on “David Oluwale and the Alchemy of Policing Blackness in Britain.” Follow her on Twitter @KennettaPerry.

Robert Trent Vinson is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the College of William and Mary. He received his Ph.D. in African History from Howard University. He has written The Americans are Coming!: The Dream of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (Ohio University Press, 2012) and Albert Luthuli: Mandela before Mandela (Ohio University Press, 2018).  Vinson is also the co-author of two additional books in preparation, Shaka’s Progeny: Zulu Cultures and the Making of the Modern Atlantic World, co-authored with Benedict Carton and Crossing the Water: African Americans and South Africa, 1890-1965, a documentary history co-edited with Robert Edgar and David Anthony (forthcoming, Ohio University Press). Vinson has also published several book chapters and articles and reviews, including in the American Historical Review, the Journal of African History, the African Studies Review, the Journal of Southern African Studies and the Journal of American Studies. He is on the editorial board of the Association of Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), Michigan State University Press and Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies. Follow him on @RobertVinson20.

*The Journal of Civil and Human Rights is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, academic journal dedicated to studying modern U.S.-based social justice movements and freedom struggles, including transnational ones, and their antecedents, influence, and legacies. The journal features research-based articles, interviews, editorials, state-of-the-field pieces, and book forums.

**Click here to read the essays in the roundtable.

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