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Listen Up! Podcasts from the Schomburg Center


Schomburg podcast speakers

New ideas, enlightening conversations, cutting-edge research, tomorrow's trends: it's all here in the podcast series from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Listen to our visiting scholars as they share their knowledge and passions. From feminism to the intersection of religion, race, and sexuality; from memory and identity to urban development; from poetry to biographies, these exclusive interviews explore a world of fascinating topics.

Dr. Dan Berger presents the main arguments of Captive Nation; he explains the role that prisoners and prison organizing played in the black liberation movement of the Black Power era; he discusses the impact of mass incarceration on urban communities and the state of the new racial justice movement.

Dan Berger received his Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and is an assistant professor of American and Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell. His research interests are in critical race theory, social movements, and American history, with a special emphasis on where these forces align through the carceral state.

Berger is the author of Captive Nation Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era; The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States; Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity; and The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism.

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Maryemma Graham discusses her interest in Margaret Walker; why invention and innovation are essential to African-American literary practices; the shift from autobiography to memoir among women writers; and the impact of Digital Humanities on traditional literature.

Maryemma Graham received her PhD in English from Cornell University and joined the University of Kansas where she is a University Distinguished Professor of English. Her areas of research are Genre Studies, including fiction and autobiography; African American literature; Archival Studies; Diaspora and Transnational Criticism and theories; and Digital Humanities.

Graham is the author of ten books including, most recently, "The House Where My Soul Lives: The Life of Margaret Walker." She is the editor of "The Cambridge History of African American Literature," and "The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel."

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Josef Sorett proposes that two of the most pressing social issues confronting black churches are sexuality and class divide. He discusses the key ideas of “Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics;” why conversation at the intersection of religion, race, and sexuality is important now; and the phenomenon of Christianity in hip-hop.

Josef Sorett received his PhD in African American Studies from Harvard in 2008, and joined Columbia University as Assistant Professor of Religion and African-American Studies. He focuses on black communities and cultures in the U.S. and the Diaspora, and has research interests in African-American religions, American religious history, and the role of religion and spirituality in public life. His forthcoming book, “Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics” explores how religion has entered into debates about black art and culture.

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

In this enlightening conversation, scholars and poets Nikky Finney and Meena Alexander discuss how people and land are essential sources of inspiration for their work; what “home” means to each of them in their life and poetry; and the ways their work draws on history, contemporary events, and politics.

Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights era and the Black Arts Movement. She has authored four books of poetry: “Head Off & Split;” “The World Is Round;” “Rice;” and “On Wings Made of Gauze.” The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored “Heartwood,” edited “The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South,” and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. “Head Off & Split” was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.

Meena Alexander was born in India and grew up in Sudan. Her volumes of poetry include “Illiterate Heart “-winner of the PEN Open Book Award-, “Raw Silk,” “Quickly Changing River” and, most recently, “Birthplace with Buried Stones.” Alexander has published two books of essays: “The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience” and “Poetics of Dislocation;” two novels, and her autobiography, “Fault Lines.” Dr. Alexander is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Salamishah Tillet explores feminism and discusses how girls and women of color can be shielded from violence; the relationship between African Americans and Africa concerning memory and identity; and shares her thoughts on Nina Simone’s radicalism.

Salamishah Tillet received her PhD in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Africana Studies. She is also a Core Teaching and Faculty member of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Professor Tillett is the author of "Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination."

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Alondra Nelson dives deep into the lesser known aspect of the Black Panthers’ struggle for social justice, particularly their focus on healthcare and their efforts to expose the racial discrimination plaguing the medical system of the time, as well as the impact of their work on the African-American community and healthcare system today. She also analyzes the way genealogy testing impacts how people view African-American history.

Alondra Nelson is Dean of Social Science and a professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. She earned her PhD in American Studies from New York University. Her work focuses on the intersection of science, inequality, technology, and medicine.

She is the author of “Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination,” and the co-editor of “Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History;” “Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life;” and “Afrofuturism,” a special issue of “Social Text.”

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Davarian L. Baldwin breaks down his theory of “UniverCities” and the impact of this model on urban areas; he discusses his work merging urban development and black radical though; and talks about his upcoming book “Land of Darkness: Chicago and the Making of Race in Modern America.”

Davarian L. Baldwin joined Trinity College in 2009, and is Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies. He received his PhD in American Studies from New York University. His work focuses on the landscape of global cities through the lens of the African Diasporic experience, with additional interests in universities and urban development, black radical thought and transnational social movements. Baldwin is the author of “Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life,” and the co-editor of “Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance Beyond Harlem.”

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series

Dr. Negron-Muntaner takes a closer look at Puerto Rican ethnic and national identity. She also discusses her current intellectual biography of Arturo Schomburg, and explores the ways the Afro-Latino experience has been marginalized across the Americas.

A native of Puerto Rico, Frances Negron-Muntaner received a Master in Visual Anthropology and a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video from Temple University, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University. Negron-Muntaner is an Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and serves as director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. She has edited several books, and is the author of "Anatomy of a Smile and Other Poems," and "Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture." She has released several films, including "Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican."

A Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute series


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