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2018 Hudson Symposium: Attack on Black—A Defense of the Discipline
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When: Saturday, March 31, 2018
Where: Bloomington, Indiana 
United States
Contact: African American and African Diaspora Studies Graduate Society

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In Souls of Black Folk W.E.B. Du Bois critiques the pervasive question which has been used to exploit and control Black people for centuries, “What does it mean to be a problem?” Rather than pathologize Blackness, Black Studies scholarship critiques the Western gaze and its subsequent constructions.

Black Studies first emerged in 1969 at San Francisco State University, where the discipline’s very existence was perceived as a threat by external forces. Despite this external perception, Black Studies has remained a site of interdisciplinary creativity, innovation, and ingenuity. The institutionalization of Black Studies has provided a systematic method to study Black people as they exist: globally, brilliantly, unapologetically.

Blackness—whether it be Black skin, Black spaces, or Black thought—has been under attack for generations. For as long as Blackness has been treated as an “abjected” object, Black people in the diaspora have resisted, refusing to be forced into externally-imposed definitions. Their resistance has reverberated and served as inspiration for various communities through the generations. Thus, an attack on Blackness is an attack on humanity. As Audre Lorde reminds all of us in her groundbreaking speech “There is No Hierarchy of Oppressions:” “I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.”

Attack on Black: A Defense of the Discipline is a symposium wherein participants will examine the work of Black Studies in its myriad manifestations. Black Studies has established itself as a field but, truthfully, Black Studies eclipses disciplinary boundaries. It has been able to achieve disciplinary transcendence because it is not just a field, but also a philosophy and worldview. As a philosophy, it is rooted in the desire to move Black people from object to subject and the dedication to recognize and honor the agency of the African Diaspora.

For the twelfth annual Herman C. Hudson Symposium, to take place March 31, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana, the AAADS Graduate Society invites abstracts for papers on topics that may address—but are not limited to:

  • Race/Representation/Knowledge Systems Power/Citizenship/State
  • Transformative Justice
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Ethnicity and Nationality
  • Marginalization and Resistance
  • Rurality and Urbanity
  • Art and Performance
  • Linguistics and Orality
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Environmentalism and Sustainability
  • The Carceral State and Prison-Industrial-Complex Public Policy

Organizers welcome submissions from graduate and undergraduate students, educators, university faculty and staff, creative artists, community activists, and cultural workers. Interested panelists should submit a 250-word abstract. Presenters who are interested in displaying visual art or performing an art piece should submit a flash drive, CD, or a link to web content that contains their work along with a 250-word abstract discussing the details of their piece(s). Those interested in exhibiting their topic via poster board should follow the guidelines for submitting a paper abstract and visual art. Panel proposals should include a description of the panel’s theme, a 250-word abstract from each paper, and the name of the panel chair. All abstracts should include the academic or organizational affiliation of each participant.

Please e-mail abstracts and accompanying information to the attention of the AAADS-GS, Abstract Committee Chair, at by March 4, 2018. If submitting a CD/USB drive, please indicate this in your email. CDs/USBs should be mailed to the attention of AAADS-GS at the address below:

AAADS Graduate Society
Re: Herman C. Hudson Symposium 2018
Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies Indiana University
Ballantine Hall, RM 502
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405

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