The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)’s Sixth Annual Conference
Conference Theme: The West
March 19-20, 2021
A Virtual Conference
Keynote Speakers: Robin D.G. Kelley and Tiya Miles
Author and historian 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 a Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at UCLA. Kelley has written several groundbreaking books, including 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 Class, Yo’ 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 Studies 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 Nation, Monthly Review, The Voice Literary Supplement, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Code Magazine, Utne Reader, and African Studies Review. He received his PhD in US History and MA in African History from UCLA.
Tiya Miles is Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard University. She is a public historian, academic historian, and creative writer whose work explores the intersections of African American, Native American and women’s histories. Her temporal and geographical zones of greatest interest include the nineteenth-century U.S. South, Midwest, and West. Miles offers courses on African American women, Native American women, abolitionist women, and “Black Indian” histories and identities. She has become increasingly engaged in environmental humanities questions and ways of articulating and enlivening African American environmental consciousness. Miles is the author of five books. These include: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Lora Romero Prize from the American Studies Association), The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (winner of the National Council on Public History and the American Society for Ethnohistory Book Prizes); The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (a published lecture series). Her prize-winning scholarly articles and essays explore nineteenth-century women’s struggles against injustice, conjoined Black and Native histories & literatures, public histories of plantations, and southern coastal environments. With the literary critic Sharon P. Holland, Miles co-edited a collection of essays on Afro-Native lives titled Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (2006). She holds an AB in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University, an MA in Women’s Studies from Emory University, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Featured Guest Speakers
Stanley Nelson is among the premier documentary filmmakers working today. His feature-length films combine compelling narratives with rich and deeply researched historical detail, shining new light on both familiar and under-explored aspects of the American past. In addition to honors for his individual films, Nelson and his body of work have garnered every major award in the industry. He is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and was awarded an individual Peabody Award, the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, and received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama. Nelson’s notable films include Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool; Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film); Freedom Riders (2010, winner of three Primetime Emmy Awards); Freedom Summer (2014, Peabody Award); The Murder of Emmett Till; Emmy nominated The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (1999); Two Dollars and a Dream (1989); Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple; Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind (2000, Sundance Premiere). His latest film, now streaming on Netflix, is Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy. It examines not only the personal devastation caused by the drug, but also the shadowy origins of the crisis and the resultant, ongoing marginalization of Black and Brown people trapped by the U.S. prison and healthcare systems.
Etant Dupain is a journalist, filmmaker, and community organizer. For over a decade, he has worked as a producer on documentaries and for international news media outlets including Al Jazeera, TeleSur, BBC, CNN, Netflix, PBS, and Vice. Etant founded an alternative media project in Haiti to enable citizen journalists to provide access to information in Haitian Creole for and about internally-displaced people, aid accountability, and politics. Now, moved by the strength of his mother and the women known as the Madan Sara who make Haiti’s economy run, he’s making his first personal film.
The women known as Madan Sara in Haiti work tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food and other essentials in markets through the country. Despite the obstacles faced by the women working in a sector that lacks investment, infrastructure and state assistance, the Madan Sara continue to be one of the most critical parts of the Haitian economy and of who we are as a country. The Madan Sara documentary tells the stories of these indefatigable women who work at the margins to make Haiti’s economy run. Despite facing intense hardship and social stigma, the hard work of the Madan Sara puts their children through school, houses their families, and helps to ensure a better life for generations to come. This film amplifies the calls of the Madan Sara as they speak directly to society to share their dreams for a more just Haiti.
Featured Authors & Books
Thavolia Glymph, author of The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation
Thavolia Glymph is a professor of history and law at Duke University. Her work focuses on the 19th century U.S. South. Glymph is the author of Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household (Cambridge University Press, 2008) which received the Philip Taft Prize in Labor and Working-Class History and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize. Her most recent book is The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) was a finalist for the 2021 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. She is past president of the Southern Historical Association, 2019-2020.
Tiffany N. Florvil, author of Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement
Tiffany N. Florvil is a historian of the modern and late modern period in Europe, especially social movements, gender and sexuality, emotions, and the African diaspora. Her book, Mobilizing Black Germany, is a cultural history of the interplay of emotions, social activism, transnational feminism, and the African/Black diaspora in Germany, in which she explores the emergence of the Black German movement of the 1980s and 1990s and traces the evolution of a Black German intellectual and activist tradition inspired by Caribbean-American feminist poet Audre Lorde. She has written several articles that revolve around the Black German movement and its transnational connections as well as gendered aspects of Black German activism. Together with Vanessa Plumly, Florvil has co-edited a volume, Rethinking Black German Studies: Approaches, Interventions and Histories with Peter Lang Press (2018). She is a digital humanist, serving as the Co-Founder, Network Editor, and Advisory Board Member for H-Black-Europe and a Co-Founder and Network Editor of H-Emotions.
Tyler D. Parry, author of Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual
Tyler D. Parry is Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the senior editor of Black Perspectives. He received a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He serves in a number of capacities within the profession, including as an editor for H-Afro-Am and as Book Review Editor for Black Perspectives. His research examines slavery in the Americas, the African diaspora, and the historical memory of slavery in the United States. His first book, Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) is the first definitive examination of the “broomstick wedding,” a popular marital tradition usually associated with Black Americans. Additionally, he is co-authoring a book with historian Charlton W. Yingling that examines how Europeans and Euro-Americans used canines to attack and subordinate Black people who resisted slavery and oppression.
William Sturkey, author of Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White
William Sturkey is an historian of Modern America who specializes in the history of race in the American South, with a particular interest in the histories of working-class racial minorities. He teaches courses on Modern American History, Southern History, the Civil Rights Movement, and the History of America in the 1960s. His first book, To Write in the Light of Freedom, is a co-edited collection of newspapers, essays, and poems produced by African American Freedom School students during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. His second book, Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White, is a biracial history of Southern Jim Crow that was published by Harvard University Press in March of 2019. Dr. Sturkey is currently working on a new project, tentatively titled To Be An American, which is a biography of the legendary Vietnam War hero Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez. He serves on the Faculty Advisory Board of the UNC Center for the Study of the American South and the UNC Program in the Humanities.