The Idea of a Black Radical Tradition

The Idea of a Black Radical Tradition
22-23 April 2011
501 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University

What does it mean to talk today about a black radical tradition?

Arguably, the idea of a radical tradition has been an important part of modern black intellectual life, shaping the constructions and reconstructions of an ethical-political connection across the rupturing history of black dispossession, displacement, and disenfranchisement. Part of the attractiveness, no doubt, of the idea of a black radical tradition is the way in which it offers an idiom of belonging, a vantage from which to narrate a shared past, and a perspective from which to imagine a common future. In recent years, however, in a growing number of books, we have seen the idea employed with more coherent force, perhaps more systematic intent.
This conference seeks to offer a critical platform on which to clarify the conceptual and political range of this idea of a black radical tradition. Needless to say, there is no interest in producing some kind of unifying coherence around this idea. We are, however, interested in critically inquiring into its past uses and its current possibilities.

Friday, 22 April 2011

501 Schermerhorn Hall

9:00-9:10—Morning Refreshments

9:10-9:30—Opening Remarks: David Scott, “On the Idea of a Black Radical Tradition”

9:30-10:30—Hazel Carby: “Treason-Workers: Violators of Tradition and Other Unreasoning Women”


11:00-12:00—Nikhil Pal Singh: “Black Radicalism as a Democratic Discourse”

12:00-1:00—Kaiama Glover: “Disengaged Engagement: Narcissism, Community, and Gender in Literature of the French-Speaking Americas”


2:00-3:00— Frances Negrón-Muntaner: “Schomburg’s Break: From a Puerto Rican Radical Tradition to a Negro Radical Tradition”

3:00-4:00—Robert Hill: “Garvey Before Garveyism and Radicalisms Black, British, and American


Saturday, 23 April 2011

501 Schermerhorn Hall

9:00-9:30—Morning Refreshments & Opening Remarks

9:30-10:30—Faith Smith: “Not Yet Radical?: Claiming Empire and Nation in the Late Nineteenth Century”


11:00-12:00—Richard Iton: “Text and Play within the Black Radical Tradition”


1:00-2:00—Anthony Bogues: “Black Radical Tradition and the ‘Politics of the Human’: Reflections on a Politics for Our Times”

2:00-3:00—Farah Jasmine Griffin: “Harlem Nocturne: Place, Gender and the Black Radical Tradition”


3:30-4:30—Roundtable: Nijah Cunningham, Chair

4:30-5:00—Closing Remarks: Brent Hayes Edwards

5:00-5:30—Closing Reception

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message