At Brandeis, a symposium for black lives

A panel discussion during the Black Lives Matter symposium in March 2017.Photo/Mike Lovett

A panel discussion during “Black Lives Matter: Local Movements, Global Futures.” From Left: C. Shawn McGuffey (Boston College), Darnell Moore (MicNews), Treva Lindsey (Ohio State University), Moya Bailey (Northeastern University) and Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brandeis University)

The Black Lives Matter movement was the subject of its own two-day academic symposium on the Brandeis campus March 23 and 24.

While there were keynote addresses - Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor both spoke – and sessions with distinguished scholars and artists, “Black Lives Matter: Local Movements, Global Futures” was also heavy on student involvement. A series of "teach-ins" were organized by students from Professor Chad Williams's class AAAS 156A: #BlackLivesMatter and Professor Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman’s AAAS/ENG 141B: Critical Race Theory.

The events looked at the Black Lives Matter movement and the treatment of black people at the local, regional, national and international levels. They featured subjects like "Black Lives in the (Brandeis) Archives," "Boston and Grounding the Local," "National Movement Building," “Intersectionality and Racial Potentials” and “Global Struggles.”

"We didn't want this to be your typical academic symposium," Williams said. "We wanted to foreground our students and make sure their participation and work was recognized."

While the symposium built on AAAS’s programming of the past several years, the Ford Hall 2015 protests by Brandeis students were what truly galvanized the idea for the event and led it to become reality, Williams said.

"The support and turnout was truly remarkable," he said. "It will certainly be a highlight of the year for us, and, given its historical importance, hopefully a highlight for the university as well.”  

The symposium was co-sponsored by the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice, Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Dean of Students Office, Brandeis Arts Council, Mandel Center for the Humanities, International Ethics Center for Justice and Public Life, Experiential Learning and Teaching, Intercultural Center Interfaith Chaplaincy, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Department of History, Department of English, and Department of Sociology. 

The symposium planning committee was comprised of  Williams, Abdur-Rahman, Derron Wallace, Cathy Burack, Wil Jones, Marisa Carey, Alex Montgomery and Delande Justinvil.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, Student Life

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