The Trouble with Post-Blackness: April 11, 2014

Conference Participants

Houston A. Baker is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. He has served as President of the Modern Language Association of America, and is the author of articles, books, and essays devoted to African American Literary Criticism and Theory. His book Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era received an American Book Award for 2009.

Margo Natalie Crawford is Associate Professor of African American literature and visual culture in the Department of English at Cornell University. She is the author of Dilution Anxiety and the Black Phallus (2008) and the coeditor, with Lisa Gail Collins, of New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (2006). Her essays appear in a wide range of books and journals, including Want to Start a Revolution?, The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Since 1945, The Modernist Party, Callaloo, and Black Camera.

John L. Jackson, Jr. is Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America (2001); Real Black: Adventures in Racial Solidarity (2005); and Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (2008).

Erin Aubry Kaplan began working as a full-time journalist for the Los Angeles Times in 1992. Her articles, reviews, essays, and commentary have appeared in The Guardian,, Newsday, Black Enterprise, and elsewhere. She has completed her first book, and essay collection titled Views and Blues From the Edge: Dispatches from a Black Journalista.

Stephanie Li is Associate Professor of English at the University of Rochester. Her books include Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women (2010) and Signifying Without Specifying: Racial Discourse in the Age of Obama (2012).

Brenda Marie Osbey is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. She is an internationally renowned poet who has served as Poet Laureate of Louisiana. Her volumes of poetry include In These Houses (1988), Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Storyline Press, 1991), History and Other Poems (Time Being Books, 2013), and the forthcoming All Souls: Collected Poems (2013).

Emily Raboteau is Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York. She is author of the novel The Professor’s Daughter (2005) and the recently released non-fiction Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora (2012).

Patrice Rankine is Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Classics and Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Purdue University. His essays and reviews have appeared in Critique, Forum for World Literature Studies, and a number of collections. His books include Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature (2007) and Aristotle and Black Drama: A Theater of Civil Disobedience (forthcoming, 2013).

Ishmael Reed is an internationally acclaimed poet, essayist, playwright, novelist, and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (genius award). His novels Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down (1969), Mumbo Jumbo (1972), and The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974) ushered in a bold and brilliant new vein of satire in African American literature. His most recent critique of racism and black neo-conservatism in the U.S. is Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the “Nigger Breakers” (2010).

RichĂ© Richardson is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of lectures, interviews, and essays. She is also an internationally acknowledged quilter of African American themes and images. Her book Black Masculinity and the U.S. South: From Uncle Tom to Gangsta is a major contribution to the University of Georgia Press’ series titled The New Southern Studies (2007), which Professor Richardson co-edits with Professor Jon Smith.

Heather Russell is Associate Professor of English and Graduate Director of African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University. Her book Legba’s Crossing: Narratology in the African Atlantic was published in 2009. She has contributed essays, articles, and reviews to American Literature, The Massachusetts Review, African American Review, and a number of essay collections from the US and the Caribbean.

Rone Shavers is Assistant Professor of English at the College of Saint Rose. His creative works have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine and Pank Magazine. His collaborative critical projects include Paper Empire: William Gaddis and the World System with Joseph Tabbi. He is a prominent advocate and creative force for Afro-Futurism.

K. Merinda Simmons is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at University of Alabama. Her manuscript, Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora, is currently under review at Ohio State University Press. She is co-editor of Race and Displacement, (forthcoming, University of Alabama Press). Her areas of research and publication incorporate literary and religious studies, with critical emphases in African Diasporas, Southern Studies, gender theory and feminist philosophy. She is currently conducting grant-funded research on the category “slave religion” in Southern U.S. port cities.

Greg Thomas is Associate Professor of English at Syracuse University. His books include The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power: Pan-African Embodiment and Erotic Schemes of Empire (2007) and Hip-Hop Revolution in the Flesh: Power, Knowledge and Pleasure in Lil’ Kim’s Lyricism (2009). He is founder and editor of the online journal Proud Flesh.

Salamishah Tillet is Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press, 2012) examines why and how contemporary African American artists, writers, and intellectuals remember antebellum slavery within post-Civil Rights America.

Dana A. Williams is Professor of African American Literature and Chair of the Department of English at Howard University. Her book In the Light of Likeness—Transformed: The Art of Leon Forrest (2005) is the only full-length study of Forrest. She has edited or co-edited: Humor, Irony, and Satire: Ishmael Reed Satirically Speaking (2007), and August Wilson and Black Aesthetics (wf. Sanders G. Shannon, 2004). Her articles and reviews have appeared in CLA Journal, Profession, Studies in American Fiction, African American Review, and elsewhere.