October 23, 2012


Updated Nov. 28: PCN plans to air its coverage of portions of the conference beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, and again at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30. Check local listings for availability.

By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. The Griot Institute for Africana Studies at Bucknell University will host the conference, "Post-Racial America? An Interdisciplinary Conversation," Nov. 9 and 10 in the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell.

The conference, which aims to explore the debate surrounding post-raciality in America, will include a Friday keynote address by author Farah Jasmine Griffin and panel discussions on Saturday.

"If 'post-racial' means to live in a space where race is no longer significant or important, we might imagine that this sort of utopian ideal would be difficult to create and maintain, given the history of racism in the U.S.," explained Rebecca Willoughby, an English lecturer and assistant with the Griot Institute.

"Questions to be explored include whether the term 'post-racial' implies that race has become less determinative in American culture and, if so, what are the manifestations and consequences of that change? Alternatively, is the concept of post-raciality another way of burying the persistence of racism under the veneer of progress, inclusion, and diversity?"

Farah Jasmine Griffin will give the keynote address Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Hunt Formal Dining Room. Griffin is the William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University.

She is the author of Who Set you Flowin' - The African-American Migration Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), If You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (New York: The Free Press, 2001), and Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane and The Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne Press, 2008).

Her most recent book, Harlem Nocturne: Black Women Artists and Politics in Mid-Century New York, will be published by Basic Books in 2013.

Each of Saturday's panels will be facilitated by a Bucknell faculty member, and will feature speakers from all over the nation and across disciplines. Saturday's schedule includes registration from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the lobby of the Vaughan Literature Building.

Panels will take place in the Vaughan Literature Building and include:

  • 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.: "Lived Experiences" in Room 102, and "Racial Aesthetics and Conceptual Thinking" in Room 103;
  • 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: "Race and Politics" in Room 102, and "Race and Media" in Room 103;
  • 1:45 to 3 p.m.: "Race on Film" in Room 102, and "Gender and Identity" in Room 103;
  • 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.: "The Post-Racial Question and Literature" in Room 102, and "The Post-Racial Question and the Conundrum of Progress" in Room 103.

Registration is required. Conference registration is $55 and includes two dinners; students wishing to attend may participate for $25. Registration forms and more information can be found at http://www.bucknell.edu/PostRacial.xml.

The Bucknell Griot Institute for Africana Studies is a collaborative enterprise devoted primarily to the interdisciplinary exploration of the aesthetic, artistic, scholarly, and cultural products and intellectual currents of historical and contemporary Africana communities.

Contact: Division of Communications

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