Upcoming Events

Lecture: "Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women"

Brittney Cooper, Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Center Room ELC

In partnership with the Office of Multicultural Student Services, the Griot Institute will co-sponsor Dr. Brittany Cooper's visit to campus. Brittney Cooper is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She is a Black feminist theorist who specializes in the study of Black women's intellectual history, Hip Hop generation feminism, and race and gender representation in popular culture. Her forthcoming book Race Women: Gender and the Making of a Black Public Intellectual Tradition (University of Illinois Press) examines the long history of Black women's thought leadership in the U.S., with a view toward reinvigorating contemporary scholarly and popular conversations about Black feminism.

Beyond Respectability charts the development of African-American women as public intellectuals and the evolution of their thought from the end of the 1800s through the Black Power era of the 1970s. Brittney C. Cooper of Rutgers University looks at the far-reaching intellectual achievements of female thinkers and activists, and processes that transformed these women and others into racial leadership figures, including long-overdue discussions of their theoretical output and personal experiences. As Cooper shows, their body of work critically reshaped our understandings of race and gender discourse. It also confronted entrenched ideas of how — and who — produced racial knowledge. Cooper is a black feminist theorist who specializes in the study of black women's intellectual history, hip-hop generation feminism, and race and gender representation in popular culture. Her forthcoming book, Race Women: Gender and the Making of a Black Public Intellectual Tradition, examines the long history of black women's thought leadership in the United States with a view toward reinvigorating contemporary scholarly and popular conversations about black feminism.


Homecoming Weekend — Edward McKnight Brawley Brunch 

Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Willard Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building

Join the Bucknell Black Alumni Association as they celebrate Dr. Edward McKnight Brawley, the first African-American graduate of Bucknell. View the Brawley bust at the south entrance of the Vaughan Literature Building.

Learn more about Edward McKnight Brawley.

The Griot Institute is a co-sponsor of this event.


Erasure and the Fight Against Black Invisibility Book Group

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at noon

 In preparation for the 2018 Spring Series events, the Griot Institute is holding three fall semester book reading groups associated with the series. The deadline for book group registration is Sept. 11, 2017.

 Book Group Lunch for Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Griot Spring Series guest Patricia Newkirk. In 1904, Ota Benga, a young Congolese "pygmy" — a person of petite stature — arrived from central Africa and was featured in an anthropology exhibit at the St. Louis World's Fair. Two years later, the New York Zoological Gardens displayed him in its Monkey House, caging the slight 103-pound, 4-foot 11-inch tall man with an orangutan. The attraction became an international sensation, drawing thousands of New Yorkers and commanding headlines from across the nation and Europe. Spectacle explores the circumstances of Ota Benga's captivity, the international controversy it inspired, and his efforts to adjust to American life. Pamela Newkirk will be visiting campus on April 11, 2018.


Trip to see Dare to Be Black: The Jack Johnson Story

By unattributed [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSaturday, Nov. 11, 2017; Delaware Theatre Company

Before Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, there was boxing champion Jack Johnson. He captured the hearts — and in some cases the hatred — of crowds. Although it's more than a century since Johnson stepped into the ring for that blockbuster bout, his quest for equality has never seemed more timely.

Due to profanity, including the use of the "n-word," and suggestive description of sexual situations, the show is best for older teens and adults.

Information about registering for the trip will be on the Message Center in late October.


Death in a Promised Land Book Group

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 at noon

 In preparation for the 2018 Spring Series events, the Griot Institute is holding three fall semester book reading groups associated with the series. The deadline for book group registration is Sept. 11, 2017.

 Book Group Lunch for Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Griot Spring Series guest Scott Ellsworth. Exhaustively researched, 'Death in a Promised Land' is a compelling story of racial ideologies, southwestern politics, and yellow journalism, and of an embattled black community's struggle to hold onto its land and freedom. More than just the chronicle of one of the nation's most devastating race riots, this critically acclaimed study of American race relations is, above all, a gripping story of terror and lawlessness, and of courage, hedonism, and human perseverance. Scott Ellsworth will be visiting campus on March 7, 2018.


Erasure Book Group Registration Deadline

Monday, Dec. 4, 2017

The deadline to register for the spring semester book group, Erasure, which is in connection with the 2018 Griot Spring Series is Dec. 4, 2017. The Erasure Book Group lunch will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at noon.


Bucknell in the Caribbean

June - July 2018

 Study abroad with the Griot. Through readings, lectures, field trips, volunteer projects, attendance and participation in cultural performances, ethnographic interviews, as well as analytical reflections on their experiences, Bucknell in the Caribbean provides first-hand information about the literatures, histories, and cultures of the Caribbean. Students will explore the long-term cross-cultural impacts of slavery, colonization, independence, and tourism. The three islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, and Nevis will serve as our classroom.


Spring 2018

MLK Week 2018

Jan. 15-21, 2018

The Griot Institute will be involved in the planning and implementation of MLK Week 2018. The series will engage our community in a week long conversation. For updates regarding the theme and events for MLK Week 2018, please continue to check the webpage, bucknell.edu/MLKWeek.


Black Solidarity Conference

February 2018

The Black Solidarity Conference at Yale seeks to bring undergraduates of all colors together to discuss issues pertaining to the African Diaspora. Through discussions, panels, networking, and social gatherings, over 700 students from across the country will analyze issues affecting our community and explore solutions to undertake at their respective college campuses (adopted from www.blacksolidarityconference.com).


Annual Lecture & Performance Series

Spring 2018

Each academic year, the Griot Institute offers the Bucknell Community a series that focuses on a question or issue of concern central to Africana Studies. In spring 2018, we invite the campus and community to participate in a lecture/conversation series entitled, Erasure: Blackness and the Fight Against Invisibility. We will engage the topic of erasure from multiple disciplinary, artistic, and intellectual perspectives. Centering Percival Everett's novel Erasure as a focal point, the series will bring to campus a wide-array of scholars and artists to consider the impacts of this eviscerating phenomenon of erasure.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 31 - Rebecca Moore, 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 14 - Percival Everett; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 21 - C. Riley Snorton; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 - screening of A Band Called Death; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 - a black punk rock band, Death; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, March 7 - Scott Ellsworth; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Tuesday, March 20 - Jason Osder; 7 p.m. screening film, Campus Theatre
  • Wednesday, March 21 - Ramona Africa; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, April 4 - Dread Scott; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)
  • Wednesday, April 11 - Pamela Newkirk; 7 p.m. Gallery Theatre (ELC)

Griot Spring Book Group

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 at noon

Book Group Lunch for Erasure: A Novel by Griot Spring Series Guest Percival Everett. Thelonious "Monk" Ellison's writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been "critically acclaimed." He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We's Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited "some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days." Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies―his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer's, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father's suicide seven years before. In his rage and despair, Monk dashes off a novel meant to be an indictment of Juanita Mae Jenkins's bestseller. He doesn't intend for My Pafology to be published, let alone taken seriously, but it is — under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh — and soon it becomes the Next Big Thing. How Monk deals with the personal and professional fallout galvanizes this audacious, hysterical, and quietly devastating novel.


Bucknell in the Caribbean

June - July 2018

Study abroad with the Griot. Through readings, lectures, field trips, volunteer projects, attendance and participation in cultural performances, ethnographic interviews, as well as analytical reflections on their experiences, Bucknell in the Caribbean provides first-hand information about the literatures, histories, and cultures of the Caribbean. Students will explore the long-term cross-cultural impacts of slavery, colonization, independence, and tourism. The three islands of Antigua, St. Kitts, and Nevis will serve as our classroom.



Recent Events

Griot Institute Opening Event

Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017

The Opening Event will be a celebration to welcome students, staff, and faculty into the new academic year. The event will be held on the Science Quad. Food will be available and entertainment will be provided by The Akwaaba Traditional African Drum and Dance Ensemble beginning at noon.

Rain location is the Hearth Space in the ELC.

Mass Story Lab

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017

In partnership with the Writing Center, the Social Science Research Institute, the Office of Civic Engagement, Multicultural Student Services, the Office of the Provost, and the Departments of Political Science, Geography and Philosophy, the Griot Institute will be co-sponsoring the Mass Story Lab.

Resonating with the experiences and ideas described in Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Mass Story Lab will model a tool that entails listening, collaborating, brainstorming, and using creativity to solve a community problem, thus encouraging empathy, perspective sharing, and leadership building. Mass Story Lab will expand the learning opportunities for our students and community members by bringing to campus people whose lives have been directly impacted by the prison system — including former inmates, inmates' family members, guards, probation officers, and the like — and working with them to share their own stories.


Griot Fall Book Group Registration Deadline

Monday, Sept. 11, 2017

The Griot will hold three reading groups in the fall. The books correspond with the Institute’s Spring 2018 lecture/performance series, entitled Erasure: Blackness and the Fight Against Invisibility. The authors of each book will be guests in the series.

  • Let It Burn by Michael Boyette and Randi Boyette (Book Group lunch on Oct. 12)
  • Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Griot Spring Series guest Patricia Newkirk (Book Group lunch on Nov. 9)
  • Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Griot Spring Series guest Scott Ellsworth (Book Group lunch on Nov. 30)

New York Slavery and Underground Railroad Tour

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017

Join the Griot Institute as we follow the Freedom Trail in New York! Learn the exciting history of how a band of brave men and women formed the networks in Brooklyn and Manhattan that became the Underground Railroad. Enjoy a historical and informative walking tour of Lower Manhattan in which you will learn about the early African-American history of New York and how African-Americans impacted the creation of the city, see Fraunces Tavern, Trinity Church, Wall Street, and the African Burial Ground National Memorial and Museum, and visit former locations on the Underground Railroad.

Information about registering for this trip will be on the Message Center in early September.


Virtual Summit - Strengths and Struggles in School & Society: Critical Examinations of Intersectional Lives

Sept. 2-22, 2017

In partnership with the Office of Multicultural Student Services, the Griot Institute will co-sponsor the virtual summit led by Penn State University professor Jeanine Staples.

Strength and struggle is embodied by youth and adults of color in schools and society throughout the course of their academic careers. The gendered and racial micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions manifest powerful sensibilities from pre-K through college. For progress in social and emotional justice, these sensibilities and lived experiences need to be explored with the people who live them and study them. In this 21-day virtual summit, 21 guests will generate in-depth conversations about Strengths & Struggles in School & Society: Critical Examinations of Intersectional Lives. Participants will take part in discussions with race and gender scholars who are still being trained (undergraduate students), those who are emerging in the field (early-career scholars) and those established in the field (mid-career and senior scholars).

UnHerd is a series of in-depth social justice trainings and workshops offered by the Office of Multicultural Student Services. The series name comes from the idea that to promote equity we must be willing to listen to the voices silenced by oppressions and break away from the mainstream narratives and dualities that keep us from making progress.


Let It Burn Book Group

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 at noon

In preparation for the 2018 Spring Series events, the Griot Institute is holding three fall semester book reading groups associated with the series. The deadline for book group registration was Sept. 11, 2017.

 Book Group Lunch for Let It Burn by Michael Boyette and Randi Boyette. Let It Burn is the true-life story of the confrontation between the Philadelphia Police Department and the MOVE organization — a group that rejected modern technology and fought for what it called "natural law." The police commissioner's decision to drop an "explosive device" onto the house's roof — and then to let the resulting fire burn while adults and children remained in the house — was the final tragic chapter in a decades-long series of clashes that had already left one policeman dead and others injured, dozens of MOVE members behind bars, and their original compound razed to the ground. Filmmaker Jason Osder will be on campus on March 20, 2018 for a the screening of his documentary, Let the Fire Burn. MOVE bombing survivor, Ramona Africa, will be presenting as part of the Griot's Spring Series on March 21, 2018.


The Dancing Mind Challenge

Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017

 The Griot Institute for Africana Studies will host the Dancing Mind Challenge. The Dancing Mind Challenge, based on Toni Morrison's reflections in her essay "The Dancing Mind," is an opportunity for Bucknell students, faculty and staff, and community members to "unplug" and read without electronic interruptions or distractions for several consecutive hours.


Learn more about events from past semesters.

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