May 20th 2016

In 1994, Ann duCille proclaimed that black feminism occupies a precarious status within the academy, due, in part, to its lack of a disciplinary home and the pervasive denigration of black feminist intellectual and affective labor. More than two decades later, black feminism’s status is equally, if not more, precarious, particularly as it has been relegated to the bastion of identity politics, a designation every rigorous critic now regards as passé. At the same time, amidst growing concerns around the ontological status of black life, the neoliberal rollback of civil rights gains, and persistent theorizations of post-911 conditions, activists, scholars, and cultural critics alike are reaching back for and stretching out toward black feminist analytics, methods, and politics. They have lauded the import of black feminism’s theorization(s) of historical and current conditions, asserting that black feminism cultivates inroads to freedom. Toward this end, critics have attempted to harness and actualize black feminist futures, as suggested by the various activist projects, special journal issues and articles, and performance workshops that have brandished some iteration of the appellation “black feminist future(s).”

The Black Feminist Futures Symposium will take place Friday, May 20th-Saturday, May 21st, 2016 at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art (Northwestern University, Evanston Campus). The symposium will be invested in generating a radically interdisciplinary conversation that engages questions around black feminist futurity. Generally, participants will survey interdisciplinary discourses within and beyond the field of black feminist theory to investigate the conditions of possibility for black feminist futurity within the academy.

Invited speakers include: Kara Keeling, Omise’eke Tinsley, Kai M. Green, Vanessa Agard-Jones, Jayna Brown, Nicole Fleetwood, C. Riley Snorton, Zakiyyah Jackson, Tina Campt, Jafari Allen, Matt Richardson, Cathy Cohen, Treva Lindsey, Roderick Ferguson, Monica Miller, Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman.

*NOTE: There is no registration for the symposium.

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