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Black Studies and the Black University: A Critical Reconsideration

Fri, March 18, 10:30 to 11:45am, Omni Charlotte Hotel, Salon A

Session Submission Type: Panel


William Boone, Associate Professor and Chair
Department of English
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Claudrena N. Harold, Associate Professor
Department of History and Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22901

James Pope, Assistant Professor (Primary Contact)
Department of Liberal Studies
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Corey D. B. Walker, Dean and John W. and Anna Hodgin Hanes Professor of the Humanities
College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem, NC 27110

The space opened up with the events at Howard University and Yale University and documented in “The Black University” series published in Negro Digest and Black Studies In the University: A Symposium edited by Armstead Robinson continue to reverberate through the academy although unacknowledged and, in a critical sense, unknown. The key debates regarding the issues of epistemology, experience, and ethics intensely constructed considerations of what ideas and practices should form and inform knowledge production in the field and in the university. The intense wrestling with what Lerone Bennett would term “the challenge of blackness,” was not a mere theoretical or methodological consideration, but shaped the contours of the discourse on the ways in which life itself was understood. This roundtable revisits these scenes in taking up a series of critical questions regarding the place and position of Black Studies in black universities through a critical excavation of the archive of black thought and culture from these institutions. Key issues of intellectual genealogy, global cartographies of thought, alternative streams of radical thinking, and new possibilities of critical epistemologies of knowledge linked to the liberation of continental and diasporic Africans will be discussed.

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