26 episodes

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.

African American Studies at Princeton University Department of African American Studies at Princeton University

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 62 Ratings

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.

    A Black Gaze

    A Black Gaze

    How do we look at, and respond to, work by Black contemporary artists? In this episode, we sat down with Tina Campt, Visiting Professor in Art & Archaeology and the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton. We trace the arc of Prof. Campt’s career, from her earlier research on family photography in the African diaspora and how one can “listen to images,” all the way to her current writing and recent trip to this year’s Venice Biennale. Along the way, we discuss concepts that elucidate the aesthetic, political, and experiential dynamics of work by artists like Jennifer Packer, Cameron Rowland, Stan Douglas, and Simone Leigh.
    Deep Dive: How to “listen” to a photograph Tina M. Campt, Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017).
    Tina M. Campt, A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See (MIT Press, 2021).
    The Breakdown - Guest Info

    (Photo credit: barnard.edu)
    Tina M. Campt (https://artandarchaeology.princeton.edu/people/tina-m-campt) 
    Professor Campt taught a multidisciplinary seminar called “Radical Composition” as a Visiting Professor at Princeton for the Spring 2022 semester. She is the Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, and heads the Black Visualities Initiative at Brown’s Cogut Institute for Humanities. In addition to the five books she has authored and edited, such as Listening to Images and A Black Gaze, Professor Campt is the lead convener of the Practicing Refusal Collective and the Sojourner Project. 
    See, Hear, Do “Radical Composition” course materials: Saidiya Hartman, "Venus in Two Acts." Small Axe 12, no. 2 (2008): 1-14.  Flying Lotus, “Until the Quiet Comes,” dir. Kahlil Joseph (2012).  Carrie Mae Weems, “People of a Darker Hue” (2016). Jay-Z, “4:44,” dir.  Arthur Jafa (2017).  Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life (First Print Press, 2018). Practicing Refusal Collective, The Sojourner Project (ongoing). Whitney Museum of American Art, “Ask a Curator: Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing” (2022). Taylor DaFoe, “How Curators David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards Tackled the 2022 Whitney Biennial to Show ‘What America Really Looks Like’,” artnet news (March 29, 2022). Simone Leigh, Sovereignty, Official U.S. Presentation, 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, April 23–November 27, 2022. National Gallery of Art, Afro-Atlantic Histories, April 10–July 17, 2022. Tina M. Campt, fourth lecture in the series Image Complex: Art, Visuality & Power, University of Sydney (online lecture, October 19th, 2022, register here).

    • 56 min
    A Painter's Eye

    A Painter's Eye

    Princeton AAS Podcast S2 E07
    A Painter’s Eye
    In this episode, we sit down with the legendary historian and artist Nell Painter to discuss her career and its connections to Black Studies. From reckoning with historical figures as individuals, to her life and work at Princeton, to her own works-in-progress, this podcast has something for everyone. Our hosts dive deep into Painter’s legacy and the lessons she has for our present moment.
    The Culture of __ “This new and 'old' artist offers a self-portrait in starting over,” PBS NewsHour, July 23, 2018
    “Nell Painter: Old In Art School,” GBH Forum Network, July 31, 2018
    The Breakdown - Guest Info Nell Irvin Painter (nellpainter.com) 
    Nell Irvin Painter is Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita at Princeton University. She was Director of Princeton's Program in African-American Studies from 1997 to 2000. In addition to her doctorate in history from Harvard University, she has received honorary doctorates from Wesleyan, Dartmouth, SUNY-New Paltz, and Yale. Prof. Painter has published numerous books, articles, reviews, and other essays, including The History of White People. She has served on numerous editorial boards and as an officer of many different professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, and the Association of Black Women Historians.
    Nell Painter (the painter formerly known as the historian Nell Irvin Painter) lives and works in Newark, New Jersey. Her work carries discursive as well as visual meaning, and is made in a manual and digital process. Using found images and digital manipulation, she reconfigures the past and self-revision through self-portraits. After a life of historical truth and political engagement with American society, her artwork represents freedom, including the freedom to be totally self-centered.
    See, Hear, Do “The Extraordinary Women of AAS Featuring Nell Painter,” Princeton University Department of African American Studies, March 28, 2022 Nell Irvin Painter, Southern History Across the Color Line (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2021 [2002]) Nell Painter, “American Whiteness Since Trump,” James Fuentes Gallery, 2020 “Nell Painter and Black Power in Print,” Museum of Fine Arts Boston, November 15, 2021 “Nell Irvin Painter to Deliver the Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecture,” American Council of Learned Societies Annual Meeting, Friday, April 29, 2022 @ 6:00 PM EST (registration in link)

    • 33 min
    Science Fictions: Race, Biology, and Superhumanity

    Science Fictions: Race, Biology, and Superhumanity

    On this podcast, we have addressed different dimensions of scientific racism from COVID-19 disparity data to the uses of human remains in anthropology.
    The Culture of... Jacque Smith and Cassie Spodak, “Black or 'Other'? Doctors may be relying on race to make decisions about your health,” CNN, June 7, 2021
    Ezra Turner, “MOVE Bombing Remains Scandal Shows Enduring Racism in Anthropology,” Teen Vogue, July 16, 2021
    Black AF in STEM
    The Breakdown - Guest Info
    (Photo credit: Becca Skinner / Day's Edge Productions)
    Shane Campbell-Staton (https://www.campbellstaton.com/) 
    Shane Campbell-Staton is an Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He comes to us from UCLA where he was jointly appointed in the Institute for Society and Genetics. His research group focuses on evolution in the Anthropocene, studying animal performance, gene expression and genomics to understand the lasting biological impacts of our human footprint. In addition to his scientific work, Shane hosts the popular podcast “The Biology of Superheroes,” with Arien Darby.

    (Photo credit: Princeton University)
    Ayah Nuriddin (https://sf.princeton.edu/people/ayah-nuriddin) 
    Ayah Nuriddin is a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in Princeton’s Society of Fellows, as well as a lecturer in the Council of Humanities and African American Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University. Ayah’s work shows how African Americans have navigated questions of racial science, eugenics, and hereditarianism in relation to struggles for racial justice since the nineteenth century. She is also interested in how race and scientific racism shape discourses and activism around health inequality. Ayah is working on a book manuscript, “Seed and Soil: Black Eugenic Thought in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries” and teaches courses at Princeton like “Beyond Tuskegee: Race and Human Subjects Research in US History.”
    See, Hear, Do Shane Cambpell-Staton and Arien Darby, The Biology of Superheroes Podcast
    Ayah Nuriddin, “African Americans and Eugenics,” C-SPAN American History TV, January 5, 2018
    Terence Keel, Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science (Stanford University Press, 2018)
    PBS: American Experience, The Eugenics Crusade, October 16, 2018
    Alexander Glustrom, Mossville: When Great Trees Fall (Fire River Films, 2020)

    • 49 min
    Reactivating Memory

    Reactivating Memory

    Two events in 1921—more than a thousand miles apart—had a profound impact on African American history: the production of the all-Black musical Shuffle Along and the Tulsa race massacre. A century on, an online workshop held at Princeton, Reactivating Memory, sought to explore the relationship between these seemingly disparate events and consider their legacy in Black life today. Our host Mélena Laudig sat down with Michael J. Love, A.J. Mohammed, and Dr. Catherine M. Young, all contributors to the team that organized this fascinating workshop. Tune in to learn more about how they balance performance, scholarship, and activism, and to dig into the history of Shuffle Along and the legacy of Black theatrical practice.
    The Culture of...
    Brian D. Valencia, “Musical of the Month: Shuffle Along,” NYPL Blog, February 10, 2012
    “Show Clips: SHUFFLE ALONG, Starring Audra McDonald,” Broadwaycom, May 10, 2016

    • 56 min
    University Reckonings

    University Reckonings

    Princeton AAS Podcast S2 E04
    University Reckonings
    Over the past decade, historians have probed the relationship between higher education and slavery through innovative public-facing projects that raise important questions. What role have academic institutions played in perpetuating racial inequality? How are scholars and students today working to hold universities accountable for past and present injustices? What role should public engagement play in shaping the future of scholarship and the mission of the university? As campuses buzz back to life, our hosts Ebun Ajayi and Mélena Laudig discuss the legacy of universities and slavery with up-and-coming scholars in Black Studies: R. Isabela Morales, Charlesa Redmond, and Ezelle Sanford, III.
    The Culture of...
    President Eisgruber’s message to community on removal of Woodrow Wilson name from public policy school and Wilson College, June 27, 2020
    Editorial Board, “After five years of student activism, it’s time for the U. to stop dragging its feet,” The Daily Princetonian, July 2, 2020
    Maya Kassutto, “Remains of children killed in MOVE bombing sat in a box at Penn Museum for decades,” BillyPenn, April 21, 2021
    “MOVE Bombing at 30,” Democracy Now, May 13, 2015
    Benjamin Ball, “Students hold protest in solidarity with MOVE,” May 2, 2021
    Association of Black Anthropologists, “Collective Statement Concerning the Possession and Unethical Use of Remains,” April 28, 2021
    The Breakdown - Guest Info Isabela Morales, Ph.D. (http://www.risabelamorales.com/) 
    Dr. R. Isabela Morales received her Ph.D. in history from Princeton University in 2019 and is Editor and Project Manager of the Princeton & Slavery Project. Her first book, Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2022. After two years working for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, she will join the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum while working on her second book project.
    Ezelle Sanford III, Ph.D. (http://www.ezellesanford.com/)
    Dr. Ezelle Sanford III is an Assistant Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University and received his PhD in history of science from Princeton in 2019. A scholar of African American, medical, and urban history, Dr. Sanford’s book project, Segregated Medicine: How Racial Politics Shaped American Healthcare, explores the history of racial inequality in healthcare through the lens of St. Louis’s Homer G. Phillips Hospital, America’s largest segregated hospital in the mid-twentieth century. Before coming to his current position, Dr. Sanford was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Manager for the Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery Project.
    Charlesa Redmond (https://scholars.duke.edu/person/charlesa.redmond)
    Charlesa Redmond is a Ph.D. student in History at Duke University. A 2017 graduate of Princeton University, her senior thesis work was based in materials made accessible through the Princeton & Slavery Project. Her Ph.D. research aims to explore how colleges and universities tried to answer “the slavery question,” and how such answers manifested themselves into tangible actions—frustrating the slave trade at times while furthering it at others.
    See, Hear, Do The Princeton & Slavery Project
    Penn & Slavery Project and Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery
    Komal Patel, “Penn Museum to remove Morton Cranial Collection from public view after student opposition,” The Daily Pennsylvanian, July 12, 2020.
    Rachel L. Swans, “272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?” The New York Times, April 17th, 2016 
    Georgetown Slavery Archive and Georgetown Reflects on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation
    “Black at Mizzou,” APM Reports, August 14, 2020 
    Courtney Perrett, “MU alumna shares her 'Black at Mizzou' experience in new audio documentary,” Missourian, August 18, 2020
    Eddie R. Cole, The Campus Color Line: College Presi

    • 53 min
    Juneteenth: Past, Present, and Future

    Juneteenth: Past, Present, and Future

    When we talk about Juneteenth, sometimes called America's second Independence Day, what exactly are we talking about? How has the end of slavery been celebrated across time in Black communities? What political obligations does its commemoration bring to the fore? Join our hosts, Ebun Ajayi and Mélena Laudig, as they talk with Professor Joshua B. Guild about the past, present, and future of Juneteenth.
    Note: At press time, both the Senate and House have passed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill is on President Biden’s desk.
    The Culture of __ “Celebrating Juneteenth,” ABC News, June 19, 2020
    Joshua Gargiulo, “Fact check: Barack Obama mentioned Juneteenth multiple times while president,”  USA Today, June 28, 2020
    Jeanine Santuci, “'I made Juneteenth very famous': Trump takes credit for holiday celebrating Emancipation Proclamation,” USA Today, June 18, 2020
    “What Is Juneteenth? Dulcé Sloan Explains,” The Daily (Social Distancing) Show, June 19, 2020
    “What Juneteenth tells us about the value of black life in America,” The Washington Post, June 19, 2020

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

Pablo Puppy ,

Activism in the Post Trump World

Please have the students who were on the December 2016 episode back to update us on how they think it turned out. What surprised them and what didn’t?

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