Lectures and Events
The Africana Studies Program offers lecture and other programming funds. If you’re planning an event, fill out and return the Programming Funds Request Form.
On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond
This series is a response to the groundswell of uprising for black lives this summer and represents a collaboration amongst faculty teaching courses on activism and racial justice across Vassar’s curriculum: Professor Jasmine Syedullah’s AFRS 220, Policing the Planet; Professor Syedullah and Professor Jonathan Kahn’s AFRS 186 On Mattering; Eva Woods Peiro’s CLCS 121 Anti-Racist Learning and Activism; and Katherine Hite and Jeffrey Schneider’s CLCS 281 Local Legal Challenges.
Spotlight on Local Organizing: BLM HV and ENJAN Speaker: Earl Jones, Jeff Schneider, and Rae Leiner
October 27, 2020
Earl Jones and Jeff Schneider of the End the New Jim Crow Action Network! (ENJAN) and Rae Leiner of Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley will conclude the On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond lecture series sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.
ENJAN, pronounced “engine,” is a group of Hudson Valley residents working locally to end the era of mass incarceration in this country. BLM Hudson Valley is the official chapter of the #BlackLivesMatter network in the Hudson Valley of New York.
On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond is a new prison studies-centered speaker series open to all within the Vassar community this Fall 2020, but is also designed as a half credit course for students interested in emerging activist knowledges mobilizing in response to state-sanctioned systems of anti-Black violence, especially police brutality and the killings of unarmed black and brown people in the name of public safety. To this end, On Mattering is lifting up perspectives from those working inside and outside the academy to build local and national grassroots-based accountability strategies to curb blatant and bureaucratic forms of white supremacy, decolonize safety, defund the criminalization of poverty, immigration, black, native, and brown lives, and reimagine protocols of public safety across the U.S. and throughout the world.
Beyond Racism: Anti-Blackness of the Human and the Social Speaker: João Costa Vargas
October 20, 2020
João H. Costa Vargas, a professor of anthropology, examines how antiblackness affects society as a whole through analyses of recent protests against police killings of Black individuals in both the U.S. and Brazil, as well as the everyday dynamics of incarceration, residential segregation, and poverty. Ultimately, he asks why the denial of antiblackness persists, whom this narrative serves, and what political realities it makes possible.
Memorializing and Archiving the Past for an Antiracist Future Speaker: Molly McGlennen and Carmen McGill
October 13, 2020
Molly McGlennen, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies, and Carmen McGill of the Black History Project Committee will speak as part of the On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond lecture series sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.
Carmen McGill was born and raised in New York State, graduated from Howard University, retired as a personnel administrator for NYS and then, as an admissions counselor at Dutchess Community College, served as chairperson of the Black History Month Committee for several years. She has been active in the community, NAACP (Southern Branch), several school district committees, board member of Dutchess County Historical Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Celebrating the African Spirit, and the Black History Project Committee.
Policing and Resistance in Puerto Rico Speaker: Marisol LeBrón
October 7, 2020
Marisol LeBrón of the University of Texas at Austin will speak as part of the On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond lecture series sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.
Marisol LeBrón, “They Don’t Care if We Die: The Violence of Urban Policing in Puerto Rico”
Marisol LeBrón, “Puerto Rico, Colonialism, and the U.S. Carceral State”
An interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. LeBrón’s research and teaching focus on social inequality, policing, violence, and protest. Her book, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), examines the growth of punitive governance in contemporary Puerto Rico.
“No Matter How Many Times You Study Me It Doesn’t Give Me a Home” Speaker: Lisa (Tiny) Gray-Garcia and Leroy Moore
September 30, 2020
Lisa (Tiny) Gray-Garcia and Leroy Moore will speak as part of the On Mattering: Voices from the Movement and Beyond lecture series sponsored by the Africana Studies Program.
Lisa (Tiny) Gray-Garcia and Leroy Moore have PhDs in Poverty from the streets and heart beats of their poor and indigenous people-led movement in Occupied Huchuin (Oakland) Califaztlan, Poor News Network (PNN).
On Mattering Trans Abolitionists Dismantling Campus Carceral Logics Speaker: Saige Jalida and Alisha Kohn, Queers for Justice, Newburgh LGBTQ Center
September 22, 2020
- A tale of two districts: history of Poughkeepsie schools
- Down Low
- The Cambridge Handbook of policing in the United States, Chapter 19: “Police”. (The Criminalization of LGBT People starts on page 374.)
- Sue Brooks, The Politics of Policing School Districts - Upstate NY,
Educational Foundations, Summer–Fall 2006
The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center is defining itself as a hub for grassroots education, leadership development, community building, community organizing, resource development + distribution, connection to resilient networks for services and advocacy in the mid-Hudson Valley. We built the Center as a response to the needs of Queer and Trans People of Color and our allies.
On Mattering The Conspiratorial Politics of Attica and Carceral War Speaker: Orisanmi Burton
September 16, 2020
- Orisanmi Burton, “Organized Disorder: The New York City Jail Rebellion of 1970:”
- Orisanmi Burton, “Diluting Radical History”
Orisanmi Burton is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University.
On Mattering We are More than Hashtags and Bodybags Speaker: Tawanda Jones
September 8, 2020
Making our black lives matter is a political movement, a community movement, and a spiritual movement, and while Tawanda’s lane is police brutality, she knows hers is not the only one. There are so many others: street violence, memorials, and housing. She says, “We are facing legalized genocide on all levels and we need to change the whole system.”
- “A Moment of Reckoning: Listening to Black voices in Baltimore.” Edited by Lydia Woolever.
- Wes Moore and Erica L. Green: Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City. (“Prologue,” & “Tawanda”)
- Bryan Crawford: “Bad cops, Bad Cops—The troubling and largely untold tale of Baltimore Police Dept. corruption.”
- Anjali Kamat, Thi Bui, Sarak Mirk, and Amanda Pike: “‘I have to be out there. They’re killing us.’”
- David Schuman: “‘It Needs to Stop’: National Mother’s March Calls for the End of Police Violence”
Tawanda Jones is a Mother, Teacher, Anti-Police Brutality Community Activist, and Christian woman whose brother Tyrone West was murdered by the Baltimore Police in 2013. She has been honoring his death and fighting police brutality for the past seven years. She hosts virtual #WestWednesdays, a podcast series on social media. She also supported the John Hopkins 30 Day Sit-In where the students protested against private policing.