September 5-9, 2022
Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is hosting a roundtable on Soyica Diggs Colbert’s Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry (Yale University Press, 2021). The roundtable begins on Monday, September 5, 2022 and concludes on Friday, September 9, 2022. It will feature pieces from Leticia Ridley (Santa Clara University), Isaiah M. Wooden (Brandeis University), Shane Vogel (Yale University), and Julius B. Fleming (University of Maryland). At the conclusion of the roundtable, the author Soyica Diggs Colbert (Georgetown University) will respond.
During the week of the online roundtable, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:00AM 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
Soyica Diggs Colbert is the Idol Family Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts at Georgetown University. Colbert’s most recent book, Radical Vision, a “loving, lavishly detailed” (New York Times) and captivating portrait of Lorraine Hansberry’s life, art, and political activism—one of O Magazine‘s best books of April 2021 is also described as “A devoted and deeply felt account of the development of an artist’s mind,” according to Dave Itzkoff, New York Times Book Review. In this acclaimed biography of Lorraine Hansberry, Colbert narrates a life at the intersection of art and politics, arguing that for Hansberry the theater operated as a rehearsal room for her political and intellectual work.She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support a residency at the Schomburg Center, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Stanford University, Mellon Foundation, and the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University. Colbert has also lectured nationally and internationally at universities, high schools, and middles schools as well as for civic and arts organizations.Colbert’s writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Public Books, Metrograph and American Theatre. She have been interviewed on NPR and commented for the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and the Washington Post.She is an Associate Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. In addition to Radical Vision, Colbert is the author of Bodies: Theory for Theatre Studies, Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics, and The African American Theatrical Body. Colbert co-edited Race and Performance After Repetition and The Psychic Hold of Slavery. Most recently, she served as a Creative Content Producer for The Public Theatre’s audio play, shadow/land. Her research interests span the 19th-21st centuries, from Harriet Tubman to Beyoncé, and from poetics to performance. Follow her on twitter @DrSoyica.
About the Participants
Leticia Ridley is a theatre historian and performance studies scholar whose research works at the intersections of Black feminism, Black Studies, performance theory, and Black digital humanities. Her research interests include Black theatre and performance, American popular culture, and sports. She is currently working on her book project, tentatively titled Hypervisibility Renderings: Black Feminist Performance in the 20th and 21st Centuries, which examines contemporary Black women’s performance cultures, or the ways that Black women artists, athletes, and musicians (who all occupy the position of celebrity) make culture that articulates their definitions of self and constructs alternative frameworks for themselves and other Black women to occupy. You can find her writing in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, and forthcoming in Journal of American Drama and Theatre and A Routledge Anthology of Sport Plays. Ridley received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies with graduate certificates in Women and Gender Studies, Digital Studies and Critical Theory from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation. Follow her on twitter @LL_Ridley.
Isaiah Matthew Wooden is a director-dramaturg, critic, and assistant professor of theater at Swarthmore College. He received his AB in Government from Georgetown University and earned his PhD in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. A scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first century African American art, drama, and performance, Wooden has contributed more than forty articles, essays, and reviews to scholarly and popular publications, including The Black Scholar, Callaloo, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Modern Drama, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Performing Ethos, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Theater, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, and Theatre Topics, among others. He is currently at work on a monograph that explores the interplay of race and time in post-civil rights Black expressive culture and is co-editing a volume on playwright August Wilson for Cambridge University Press’ “Literature in Context” series. He is also the co-editor of Tarell Alvin McCraney: Theater, Performance, and Collaboration (Northwestern UP, 2020).
Shane Vogel (he/him) is Professor of English and African American Studies at Yale University. His research and teaching interests include performance studies, theater history, African American literature and performance, Black existentialisms, and the Harlem Renaissance. He is the author of The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance (University of Chicago Press, 2009); Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze (University of Chicago, 2018; winner of the John W. Frick Award from the American Theater and Drama Society); and co-editor, with Soyica Diggs Colbert and Douglas A. Jones, Jr., of Race and Performance after Repetition (Duke University Press, 2020; winner of the Errol Hill Award from the American Society for Theatre Research). He is also co-editor, with Uri McMillan and Sandra Ruiz, of the NYU Press book series Minoritarian Aesthetics. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University. He is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Popular Music Studies and jml: Journal of Modern Literature. Prior to arriving at Yale, he was Ruth N. Halls Professor of English and Director of the Cultural Studies Program at Indiana University.
Julius B. Fleming, Jr. earned a doctorate in English, and a graduate certificate in Africana studies, from the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in Afro-Diasporic literatures and cultures, he has particular interests in performance studies, black political culture, diaspora, and colonialism, especially where they intersect with race, gender, and sexuality. Professor Fleming is currently completing his first book manuscript, entitled “Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Refusal to Wait for Freedom,” under contract with New York University Press. This project reconsiders the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of black theatre, while examining the importance of time and affect to the making of the modern racial order. Analyzing a largely unexplored, transnational archive of black theatre, it demonstrates how black artists and activists used theatre and performance to unsettle the demands of a violent racial project he terms “black patience.” From the slave castle to the hold of the slave ship, from the auction block to commands to “go slow” in fighting segregation, black people have historically been forced to wait, coerced into performing patience. This books argues that during the Civil Rights Movement, black people’s cries for “freedom now”–at the lunch counter, in the streets, and importantly on the theatrical stage–disturbed the historical praxis of using black patience to manufacture and preserve anti-blackness and white supremacy. Follow him on twitter @juliusflemingjr.permission.