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African American Studies Faculty Book Celebration

Join us as we celebrate recent publications from our African American Studies faculty:

Thursday, February 16th at 5 pm
Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center * Septima Clark Auditorium
25 St. Philip Street, Room 118

origin story: poems by Gary Jackson

origin story outlines a family history of distant sisters, grieving mothers and daughters, and alcoholic fathers. These poems take us from Kansas to Korea and back again in an attempt to reconnect with estranged family and familial ghosts divided by years of diaspora. An interrogation of cultural and personal myths, origin story wrestles with the questions: Who will remember us? How do we deal with the failures of memory? Whose stories are told?

My Soul Is a Witness: The Traumatic Afterlife of Lynching by Mari N. Crabtree

Black southerners often shielded their loved ones from the most painful memories of local lynchings with strategic silences but also told lynching stories about vengeful ghosts or a wrathful God or the deathbed confessions of a lyncher tormented by his past. They protested lynching and its legacies through art and activism, and they mourned those lost to a mob’s fury. They infused a blues element into their lynching narratives to confront traumatic memories and keep the blues at bay, even if just for a spell. Telling their stories troubles the simplistic binary of resistance or submission that has tended to dominate narratives of Black life and reminds us that amid the utter devastation of lynching were glimmers of hope and an affirmation of life.

My Soul Is a Witness traces the long afterlife of lynching in the South through the traumatic memories it left in its wake. She unearths how African American victims and survivors found ways to live through and beyond the horrors of lynching, offering a theory of African American collective trauma and memory rooted in the ironic spirit of the blues sensibility—a spirit of misdirection and cunning that blends joy and pain.

Port of Entry – Episode 5 – “The Issue of Females”

Click the link below to listen to the 3rd episode of Port of Entry!
Episode 5 “The Issue of Females”

November 12, 2019

A lively conversation between Religious Studies scholars Matthew Cressler and our 2019-2020 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecturer Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh, following her standing-room only talk on “’The Issue of Females’: Abortion, Infanticide, and Ethics in Southern Slavery.” Her research presented at CofC is drawn from her forthcoming book, tentatively titled The Souls of Womenfolk.

Professor Sami Schalk to Deliver the 2018–2019 Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture

The late Conseula Francis (1973–2016), the former director of the African American Studies Program, was deeply committed to mentoring and supporting junior faculty, and one of the many ways in which she championed the work of junior scholars in the field of African American Studies was to establish the Emerging Scholar Lecture Series. We still feel the loss of Conseula every day, and to commemorate her unflagging commitment to our program and to the work of junior scholars, we have named this lecture series in her memory.

This year, Sami Schalk, an assistant professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will deliver a Conseula Francis Emerging Scholar Lecture on September 10, 2018. She published her book, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction with Duke University Press in 2018, and her lecture will draw upon the main arguments put forth in that project. Her research traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds—the intertwinement of the mental and the physical—in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability. Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Professor Schalk demonstrates that this genre’s political potential lies in the authors’ creation of bodyminds that transcend reality’s limitations. Outlining (dis)ability’s centrality to speculative fiction, Schalk shows how these works open new social possibilities while changing conceptualization of identity and oppression through non-realist contexts. Her other publications include articles in Disability Studies, African American Review, Palimpsest, the Journal of Modern Literature, and the Journal of Popular Culture, among others. Professor Schalk’s lecture is titled “Black Women’s Speculative Fiction and the Deconstruction of Able-Mindedness” and will be held at 6:00 pm in Addlestone Library Room 227.

 

Where are they now? Capers Rumph ’09 (German and History)

When German and History double major Capers Rumph received the outstanding German student award in 2009, the German faculty noted that she was a “poster child for our mission at the school of Language Cultures and World Affairs: she studied a specific language and culture, German, but used that cultural encounter as a springboard to become a responsible and engaged world citizen.”

We caught up with her recently to hear what she has been doign since graduation, and were not in the least surprised that she continues to be an inspiring Paradebeispiel (paradigmatic example) of our misssion here in LCWA. Capers, we are so proud of and inspired by you!

Capers Rumph on the Ganges river in Varanasi, India.

What have you been doing since you graduated and what are you up to now?

Since graduating, I’ve had the privilege of working and/or traveling in 50 countries, sailing across the Atlantic, advocating for an end to the war in eastern DR Congo, managing an ethical textiles company in Ghana, learning to grow vegetables on a farm that is working to dismantle racism in the food system, photograph trips to Burma, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan with a group of radical peace activist Buddhist monks, and a handful of other interesting things.

Right now, I’m living in Portland, Oregon, balancing my time between farming, construction work, resisting the rise of fascism, and making art.

How did studying German in the School of Languages and World Affairs prepare you be a global citizen?

Studying German taught me how to learn a language. It was my first second language, and the experience laid the groundwork to add third and fourth (and hopefully more eventually!) languages to the mix. I think that being able to communicate with people across languages and cultures is an invaluable skill — and this being able to understand/converse with people has taught me to trust people and has fundamentally shaped one of my core beliefs that, “people are good”. This understanding, which for me came by way of “learning how to learn a language,” is essential to contributing to the de-escalation and redirection of the ignorance fueled polarization, fear mongering, and general slide into plutocratic fascism that marks this moment in history.

For more on Capers’ journey and her photography, see her website: www.theoppositeofwar.com