In Fall 2021, the Department of Africana Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, supported by a faculty grant from the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, is launching a multi-year project titled Insurgent Intersections: Combating Global Anti-Blackness to explore how the discipline informs global, intersectional struggles against anti-Blackness. We are also exploring how the interventions of Africana Studies intersect with approaches to anti-Blackness from other academic disciplines. Throughout the project, we will explore various themes, which will include conversations and exchanges among scholars, students, artists, and activists.
Insurgent Intersections takes its inspiration from the events of 2020, when one of the largest social protests in US history erupted in response to the police murders of Black women, men, and trans people. The protests occurred in the midst of several ongoing, and overlapping, global crises: a pandemic with disproportionate impacts on working class and poor communities, and communities of color; fractious and violent political schisms; a resurgence of white nationalism; the continued expropriation of indigenous lands; and the ongoing disregard for Black life in multiple contexts including policing, health, and the environment.
While the global scope of systemic and racialized violence -- both physical and structural -- became the topic of worldwide debates and calls for a “racial reckoning,” we noted that 1) these issues have long been evident to the people who live these realities, and 2) in conflating the many ways that racism informs multiple forms of oppression, we lose the specific ways that anti-Blackness is at the root of global racial capitalism.
The long history of Africans and their descendants in the evolution of global racial structures has entailed both resistance as well as the insurgent genius that has led Black peoples to find joy and fullness in the face of societies designed to consume Black life. The defense of Black life, as well as the interventions of artists and activists in addressing the precarity of Black life, inform the discipline of Africana Studies.
In Spring 2022, we will be exploring the theme “The Roots of Global Anti-Blackness.” We invite scholars working on any aspect of this theme to submit paper abstracts for a works-in-progress series of workshops, and an opportunity to discuss their work in a live webinar at the end of the semester. We will be selecting 3-4 abstracts of works currently in development, and selected speakers will submit a working draft of a paper two weeks before their scheduled session to be workshopped by attendees. We welcome papers from all disciplines.
All workshops will be virtual and workshop participants for Spring 2022 must be Rutgers-affiliated faculty, PhD students, or post-doctoral fellows.
Submissions for abstracts should be 200-250 words long. Potential questions include, but are not limited to:
- What are the philosophical, geographical, and/or economic origins of anti-Blackness?
- Is anti-Blackness the same as racism?
- What were the components or facets of global anti-Blackness at its inception?
- How are the roots of global anti-Blackness evident in present-day iterations of anti-Blackness?
- How does capitalism figure into the roots of global anti-Blackness?
- How did anti-Blackness and Indigenous dispossession co-construct the modern world?
- How did gender inform the structuring of anti-Blackness?
- How did anti-Blackness evolve in conjunction with other systems of oppression?
- What are the historical roots of some of today’s struggles against anti-Blackness?
- How do activists fighting against anti-Blackness today engage the roots of this issue?
- How is anti-Blackness a global phenomenon? Was anti-Blackness global from its inception? If so, how?
- What do we gain from conceptualizing the roots of anti-Blackness from a global lens? How does this differ from more localized conceptions of anti-Blackness?
- How have the arts been used to connect current concerns to the deep roots of anti-Blackness?