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African American Studies at Princeton University

The Princeton African American Studies Department is known as a convener of conversations about the political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of race and racial groups. We invite you to listen as faculty “read” how race and culture are produced globally, look past outcomes to origins, question dominant discourses, and consider evidence instead of myth.

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Before Cornel West, After Cornel West

In episode six of AAS 21 podcast, Professor Glaude is joined by teacher and friend of 30 years, Dr. Cornel West. When it comes to habits of reading, West tells of staying in contact with the best of the past, feeling incomplete if he doesn’t accomplish his nightly three hours of study. West considers artists as the vanguard of the species, and more than enjoying great literature and writing as a spectator, West believes authors provide the blueprint a person needs to live their life as a work of art. Contemporary writers like Lorraine Hansberry, Toni Morrison, Susan Sontag, and Sheldon Wolin are only a sample of the 'post-Du Bois' intellectuals West knows can bring a world of depth to a person. But in many ways, with his consistent and constant embodiment of the three pillars of piety - remembrance, reverence, and resistance - the life of West is itself a new marker of time.

52mins

10 May 2017

Rank #1

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A Through Line for African American Studies

African American Studies is a field that shows how ‘this connects to that.’ In this conversation, Professor Glaude interviews his colleague Professor Imani Perry about her expansive, pathbreaking archive. Perry discusses her forthcoming book projects, ideas about methodology, and habits of reading. One book, May We Forever Stand, a cultural history of the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” tells a story about black institutional life, ritual and loss. Another book, Vexy Thing: A Book on Gender, is an account of patriarchy, empire, conquest and - through a real commitment to feminist practice - liberation. Finally, Perry is at work about a book on the life of Lorraine Hansberry. Perry’s insight as a scholar trained in multiple disciplines reveals a valuable toolkit for those seeking to enter and make a difference in the academy. Glaude and Perry also discuss what they are reading and listening to today. 

44mins

1 Mar 2017

Rank #2

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The Making of the Modern Black Diaspora

Professor Joshua Guild joins the conversation in this episode of the AAS 21 Podcast. Professor Guild is an associate professor of History and African American Studies at Princeton specializing in twentieth-century African American social and cultural history, urban history, and the making of the modern African diaspora. Professor Guild discussed two works, In the Shadows of the Metropolis: Cultural Politics and Black Communities in Postwar New York and London (Oxford University Press)and The City Lives in You: The Black Freedom Struggle and the Futures of New Orleans. This wide-ranging conversation tracks how black New York, black London, and black New Orleans came into being through a comparative, but relational analysis.

36mins

19 Feb 2018

Rank #3

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What Was African American Marriage?

What was marriage under slavery? Professor Tera W. Hunter’s new book, Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century provides an intimate glimpse of the affections and complexities of black marriage in the United States from its origins. In an illuminating conversation, Professor Tera Hunter and Professor Eddie Glaude discuss major takeaways from the book, key language introduced by Hunter, and various new understandings about African American marriage and family life from 1800 to the present day. A common assumption shared by liberal and conservative commentators alike is that low marriage rates in African American communities are a byproduct of slavery. However, Hunter’s research shows that marriage among African Americans, respected by law or not, was widely embraced in earlier times. From slavery to reconstruction, a desire to marry and build lives together factored centrally in the hearts and minds of African American men and women.After marriage was legalized following emancipation, black marriage rates started to eclipse white Americans’ by the turn of the twentieth century. Hunter suggests current declining marriage rates may best be attributed to advantages offered to some Americans, and denied to other Americans at specific, consequential junctures, such as in the wake of World War II. Bound in Wedlock is a groundbreaking book which, through an extensive archive, dismantles pathologies as it fascinates.

45mins

8 Jun 2017

Rank #4

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Activism and Risk in the Face of Trump

Destiny A. Crockett and Asanni A. York were thirteen year-olds when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. Crockett and York, who are good friends, are activists and student leaders in their last years at Princeton. York is a concentrator in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy earning a certificate in African American Studies and Crockett is a concentrator in the Department of English earning a certificate in African American Studies. The two join Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr., who has taught them both, for a conversation about what it has meant to them to mature politically during Obama’s presidency, their research and coursework in African American Studies, the organizing movement work they’ve done on campus and in the world, and how they are now imagining their activist futures in the context of President-Elect Donald Trump.

42mins

8 Dec 2016

Rank #5

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The Pulse of Black Life in the Long 19th Century

In this episode of the AAS 21 podcast, Professor Glaude speaks with new colleague Autumn Womack about several projects she has in the works. Womack joined the faculty at Princeton this year as an assistant professor in departments of African American Studies and English. Womack specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literature, with a particular research and teaching focus on the intersection of visual technology, race, and literary culture. Womack’s forthcoming book is called Reform Divisions: Race, Visuality and Literature in the Progressive Era.

30mins

15 Dec 2017

Rank #6

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15 - The Influence of Ancient Ethiopia

In this episode, Eddie Glaude sits down with Professor Wendy Belcher to discuss her recent book.  Prof. Belcher reveals her connection to Ethiopia, and how her life experiences of growing up white in Africa seep through her perspective and understanding. Professor Belcher explains how her curiosity pushed her to research, archive, and translation ancient Ethiopian writing; becoming the foundation of her recent book, The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman.

33mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #7

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The Formation of 'Religio-Racial' Identity

In this episode, Professor Glaude and Professor Judith Weisenfeld discuss the development of 'religio–racial' identity during the Great Migration. Weisenfeld is the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Her latest book, New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration is a historiography of twentieth-century black religious groups, including the Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, and Ethiopian Hebrews. The two discuss the racial claims of these groups, the impact they had on the development of African American identity, and their interactions with government entities, other religious groups, and African American communities.  Weisenfeld also sheds light on her research process, which pulls from marriage and divorce certificates, immigration and naturalization records, and FBI files in order to create a multifaceted view of the practitioners.

47mins

2 Aug 2017

Rank #8

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Inspiring Change in Trump's America

As we step into 2019, Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. and Associate Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor discuss and review the political climate of America. Prof. Taylor points out the importance of continuing to organize and mobilize social activism, like Black Lives Matter, with the understanding that a single objective is more significant than the different political views. Dr. Glaude highlights the deep fear and "Shock and Awe" around President Trump's current administration and policies. Professor Taylor warns of the dangers of moving forward as a nation with an "anything but Trump" perspective; how it lowers the expectations for parties and continues to perpetuate similar issues.  Agree or disagree? Listen, share and let us know what you think.

39mins

29 Jan 2019

Rank #9

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Reimagining Science and Technology

In this episode of the AAS 21 podcast, Professor Ruha Benjamin and Professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. discuss science and technology, the allure of objectivity related to this category of work, and consider what it takes to proceed in a “third” way. Professor Benjamin is author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013), Race After Technology, with Polity (forthcoming), and editor of Captivating Technology: Race, Technoscience, and the Carceral Imagination (Duke University Press, forthcoming), as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

52mins

28 Mar 2018

Rank #10