Category Archives: Conference Post


I. STEPS IN THE READING PROCESS [Major Works course notes (hispol track), ca 1997]

  1. read the preface, introduction, table of contents to find out what the author’s stated purpose is and how he/she intends to accomplish it.
  2. read the footnotes and/or bibliography to see what kinds of evidence the author is drawing on and what other works in the field have preceded the one you are reading.
  3. read the entire book through taking notes and/or making marginal comments as you proceed; remember to read the footnotes as you go along.
  4. reread the parts you have underlined as well as your own comments. this should give you a pretty firm idea of what you do or don’t understand about what you have read.

II. How to situate the book in various contexts.

  1. to get some idea of the conversations or controversies in which the book may be involved read several book reviews. these can be located by consulting the BOOK REVIEW DIGEST for the years during which the book first appeared. you also should consult the major historical journals, all of which have indices, such as the AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW, THE JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY, THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY and perhaps the relevant speciality journals such as the JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY, SOCIAL SCIENCE HISTORICAL REVIEW, PAST & PRESENT, or the relevant state historical journals. if the book is a particularly difficult one you might want to consult the reviews before you read the book so you have a better handle on the major issues.
  2. read the footnotes! historians use footnotes to point you to the sources of their ideas and conclusions and to locate their work in relation to the work on the same subject that has already been done. footnotes also allow you to trace the author’s steps if you do not find the conclusions or arguments very persuasive.
  3. read the bibliography! one way to get some idea of what a particular monograph is attempting is to read ,or browse intensely, one or more of the works that the author is attempting to revise, surpass, refute, confirm, etc.
  4. check for symposia or reports on panels or conferences if the book is particularly noteworthy or controversial it might be the subject of joint reviews, symposia ,panels at conventions or special conferences. the dialogue generated in these formats can be extremely useful in highlighting the main issues and points of difference.
  5. browse the library shelves to the left and right of where your book would be located to get some idea of the range of works on the same or similar topics.

John Bracey  Afro-Am 701

An Afterthought by Amilcar Shabazz (2017)

The above reading strategy may be viewed in relation to its mode of production–the late capitalist research university. It is well traced by the US/UK academic historical discipline as well as “identitarian” interdisciplines like American Studies, Gender Studies, Classics, etc. See for a purported “graduate student” POV; or qua a learning skill. What are your thoughts? Can you use any of it?

Spring 2017 courses

AFROAM 101 Introduction to Black Studies  01-LEC (10542)
TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM | New Africa House Room 21 | Carlyn Ferrari

AFROAM 118 Survey of Afro-American Literature II 01-LEC (10532) Gened AL U +
MoWe 10:10AM – 11:00AM | Integ. Learning Center N101 | Karla Zelaya

AFROAM 133 African-American History, Civil War-1954 01-LEC (10516) Gened HS U +
MoWe 2:30PM – 3:45PM | Morrill Sci. Ctr. (II) rm 131 | Toussaint Losier

AFROAM 151 Literature & Culture 01-LEC (19877) Gened AL U
CPE On-Line | Keyona Jones| Restrictions/Notes

AFROAM 196ISH Honors Independent Study In Afroam 01-IND (10528)

AFROAM 196S Harambee Independent Study Group 01-IND(10580)
Fr 1:00AM – 1:00AM | John Bracey

AFROAM 196T Harambee Independent Study Group, Part II 01-IND (10595)
TBA | John Bracey

AFROAM 197B ST-Taste of Honey: Black Film Since the 1950’s, Part 2 01-SEM (10543)
Th 6:00PM – 8:30PM | New Africa House Room 21 | John Bracey

AFROAM 244 Afro-American Poetry: Beginning to 1900 01-LEC (20434) Gened AL U
Mo 5:30PM – 8:00PM | New Africa House Room 21 | Britt Rusert

AFROAM 252 Afro-American Image in American Writing 01-LEC (10576) +
MoWe 10:10AM – 11:00AM | Tobin Hall room 204 | James Smethurst

AFROAM 296ISH Hnrs Indstu Afroam 01-IND(10529)

AFROAM 297A ST-Black Springfield:Revisited 01-LEC (10570)
Tu 4:00PM – 6:30PM | New Africa House Room 26 | Amilcar Shabazz 

AFROAM 345 Southern Literature 01-LEC (20707) Gened AL U
TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM | New Africa House Room 21 | Nadia Alahmed

AFROAM 395F S-Peer Leadership Development 01-LEC (10546)
Th 5:30PM – 8:00PM | Integ. Learning Center N101 | Doris Clemmons

AFROAM 396ISH Honors Independent Study in AFROAM 01-IND (10530)

AFROAM 398 Practicum 01-PRA(10520)

AFROAM 496ISH Honors Independent Study in AFROAM 01-IND (21488)

AFROAM 498Y Practicum 01-PRA(10523)

AFROAM 499P Honors Project 01-IND(10524)

AFROAM 499T Honors Thesis 01-IND(10531)

AFROAM 499Y Honors Research 01-IND(10537)


AFROAM 591B Seminar- Black Radical Thought 01-SEM(10577)
We 6:00PM – 8:30PM | New Africa House rm 309 | John Bracey

AFROAM 690E Blackness and Utopia 01-SEM(20436)
Tu 11:30AM – 2:00PM | New Africa House room 302 |Britt Rusert

AFROAM 692G S-African American Women’s Narrative 01-SEM(20437)
Tu 4:00PM – 6:30PM | New Africa House rm 309 | A-Yemisi Jimoh

AFROAM 692Q S-African Diaspora Stds: Intro to Concepts & Historiography 01-SEM(21339)
Tu 2:30PM – 5:00PM | New Africa House room 302 | Agustin Lao-Montes

AFROAM 696A IS-Qualifying Examination 01-IND(10533)

AFROAM 702 Major Works in Afro-American Studies II 01-SEM(10526)
MoWe 2:30PM – 5:00PM | New Africa House rm 309 | James Smethurst

AFROAM 753 Special Topics in Afro-Amer Lit & Culture 01-LEC(20368)
Mo 11:15AM – 1:45PM | New Africa House rm 309 | Steven Tracy


BLM poster Best copy



This event has been generously supported by the endowment fund of the Resistance Studies Initiative, the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, the Dept. of Sociology, the Five Colleges, Incorporated, and culminates week of research and reflection on the movement for black lives —

For an overview of the movement, see The New Yorker, March 14, 2016, “The Matter of Black Lives: A new kind of movement found its moment. What will its future be?”  By Jelani Cobb,

Research & Reflection on Black Life

A campus-wide, interdisciplinary engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement
How to tell you of peace? Change? Hope? racial and sexual and economic injustice? Of anAmerica rising up out of an aristocracy of death. An aristocracy of slavery. Racism. An aristocracy of color. An aristocracy of corporate greed? An America that made Langston Hughes write: “We the people must redeem our lands and make America, America again.”         —Sonia Sanchez (SOS, 2014)

Dedication of a “Black Lives Matter” banner off the Amherst Town Commons
March 21 | Monday 12 noon – across S. Pleasant St. in downtown Amherst
Speakers will include Liberation Worker Dr. Barbara Love and Police Chief Scott Livingstone
*Sponsored by Coming Together: Understanding Racism, Building Fairness and Connection.
Community Forum on “Black Lives Matter”  [Free and open to the public] March 21, 2016 | Monday 7PM – First Congregational Church of Amherst, 165 Main St.
Featured multi-age panelists: Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Vira Douangmany Cage, Nurah Jaradat, Viseth Loeung, and Dr. Amilcar Shabazz followed by Community Discussion/Q&A.

Social Science Research Methods at the Frontier: Affirming Black Lives Matter
March 23 | Wednesday 12:30-2PM – UMass Campus Center Hadley Room (10th floor)
Featured Panelists: Dawn Dow (Syracuse/Sociology), Fredrick Harris (Columbia/Political Science), and Linda Tropp (UMass-Amherst/Psychology) reflect critically on the frontiers of research methods in each of their disciplines in light of the fight for racial justice. Co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Science Research and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program.
Three scholars of race and politics reflect critically on the frontiers of research methods in each of their disciplines in light of the fight for racial justice. This event is part of a weeklong, campus-wide and interdisciplinary engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement, and is co-sponsored by ISSR and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program.  Please RSVP

Sharing the Prize: Reconsidering the Economics of the Civil Rights Movement
March 23 | Wednesday 4-6PM – Student Union Cape Cod Lounge
Professor Gavin Wright, author of Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South (2013), will present followed by three commentators: Professors John Bracey (W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies), Gerald Friedman (Department of Economics), and Katherine Newman (Department of Sociology). There will be time for questions and discussion from the audience and a reception will follow the symposium.
Co-organized by Gerald Friedman, Johan Mathew, Priyanka Srivastava, and Carol Heim.

Critical Theory & Social Change Workshop: Confronting Racism in the Contemporary U.S.
March 24-25 | Thurs. 7-9PM; Friday 11:45-1:15/2:30-4PM | Campus Center/Cape Cod Lounge
A two-day workshop featuring Mariana Ortega and Touré Reed, who share a commitment to anti-racist organizing but represent different academic disciplines and adopt different theoretical approaches to analyzing racism. See
Organized by the Social Thought & Political Economy Program.

Resisting Police: Social Science Resistance Series * A Lecture by Paul Amar
March 24 | 4PM | Cape Cod Lounge |
Resisting Police Panel Discussion: Police Forces as Social Movements in Contentious Fields of Authoritarian-Populism, Militarized Masculinity, and Racial Brutality
March 25 | 4PM | Cape Cod Lounge | with Sonia Alvarez, UMass; Paul Amar, Global Studies, UCSB; Barbara Cruikshank, UMass; Donna Murch, History, Rutgers; Cathy Schneider, International Service, American U; Jillian Schwedler, Political Science, Hunter College 

Feminist Poetics: Legacies of June Jordan Symposium
March 25 | Student Union Ballroom |
A symposium celebrating the work of feminist poet, scholar and activist June Jordan, and her legacies in contemporary feminist poetics featuring Alicia Garza (#BlackLivesMatter), Lisa C. Moore (RedBone Press), Nadia Alahmed &  (UMass), Samiya Bashir (Poetry for the People), Korina Jocson, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, & Arlene Avian (UMass), Aneeka Henderson (Amherst College), Aishah Shahidah Simmons (Williams College), Kai M. Green (Northwestern University), Evie Shockley (Rutgers University), Che Gossett (poet and activist), Paula Giddings & Kevin Quashie (Smith College), Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Mobile Homecoming project), Cheryl Clarke (author, Living as a Lesbian), Barbara Smith (author, Writings on Race, Gender and Freedom), Sharon Page Ritchie (San Francisco Arts Council), Akasha Gloria Hull (author, Color, Sex, and Poetry), Margo Okazawa-Rey (Fielding Graduate University), Sonia Sanchez (author, Shake Loose My Skin), Evelyn Harris (Grammy award winning artist), and UMass student performers. Organized by Afro-American Studies & Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies

#BLM Remembering, Celebrating & Moving Forward: An Evening of Beautiful Struggle
March 26 | Saturday – Student Union Ballroom, 7PM hosted by the Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and Resistance Studies Initiative. Featuring the incomparable Sonia Sanchez, Rev. Sekou and the Holy GhostMelina Abdullah, Matt Meyer, and others.

Movement for Black Lives Strategy Retreat intergenerational luncheon
March 27 | Sunday – Campus Center Hadley Room, 1PM, RSVP to
Organized by the Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and Resistance Studies Initiative

Social Science Research Methods at the Frontier: How do we heed the call?
Monday | March 28 | 12:30-2:00 pm – Bartlett 107
This inter-disciplinary dialogue aims to engage scholars across the Five Colleges to identify implications and shared agendas for social science research after a week of events centered on the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial justice. This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Science Research and the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program in collaboration with a wide range of partner organizations such as the Public Engagement Project and the GEO Black Caucus. Dialogue Moderators: TBA  Please RSVP

University Museum of Contemporary Art | Exhibit—Question Bridge: Black Males
A video installation that aims to represent and redefine black male identity in America.
Question Bridge: Black Males is a five-channel video installation that aims to represent and redefine black male identity in America, and powerfully exposes the incredible diversity of thought, character, and identity within the black American male demographic, disrupting traditional generalizations. Created by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith, and Kamal Sinclair, the project explores challenging issues within the black male community by instigating a transmedia conversation across the geographic, economic, generational, educational, and social divisions of American society. For more info., click here

Students can arrange to get one-credit hour for academic work related to these events. Please contact Amilcar Shabazz, Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, for more info. Email:


Creating Social Transformation Through Building Deeper Relationships

Black Lives Matter -wedidntstartamovementwestartedanetwork-

Building a Manifesto BYP 100

Black Lives Matter + International Decade for People of African Descent



Campus Racism 

Historical commentary
The New Yorker MARCH 14, 2016 ISSUE “The Matter of Black Lives: A new kind of movement found its moment. What will its future be?” BY JELANI COBB

On White Allyship




Children of the Moon

The W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Center for Pan-Africa Culture  Accra, GHANA – Cantonments, House No. 22 First Circular Road

See these links:  Official web site for the Center

The Centre houses a research library and gallery of manuscripts, as well as the grave of this famous African-American scholar and his wife, Professor Shirley Graham Du Bois, formerly a faculty member in our Department.

Declared a National Monument by the Government of Ghana where the remains of the man, Du Bois and the ashes of his wife, Shirley, rest in a peace – enshrined, that their memory will live among men and women in this generation and beyond.

A special plaque mounted on a concrete contrivance welcomes the visitor with two inscriptions from the Du Bois poem “Children of the Moon.

I am dead
Yet Somehow, Somewhere,
In Time’s weird contraction,
May tell of that dread deed, wherewith
I brought to children of the Moon
Freedom and vast salvation.

I rose upon the mountain of the moon
I feel the blazing glory of the sun,
I heard the song of children crying
I saw the face of Freedom

And I died

Blog On!

Welcome to the blog of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Department is an intellectual, professional, and social community which stands at the forefront of national, global education and research on people of African descent in the United States and the African world. Please browse our main web site to learn more about our academic programs.  In this blog we will explore the past, present, and future of the intellectual work of the department. Herein we will also share news of upcoming events as well as create an archive and a forum for discussion of those events.

A Luta Continua.


Black Studies in the Americas beyond the U.S.
A Roundtable on Epistemological and Political Challenges

Audiofiles: 34th Annual Meeting of the National Council for Black Studies
Fri, March 19, 2010 – 2:00pm – 3:15pm: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
Session Participants:
Presenter: Izielen Agbon (independent Scholar)
Presenter: Joseph Jordan (Department of African and Afro-American Studies UNC-Chapel Hill)
Presenter: Agustin Lao-Montes (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
Presenter: Aurora Vergara-Figueroa (Department of Sociology University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Discussant: Amilcar Shabazz (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
This session explores the epistemological and political challenges affecting the emergence of Black Studies in the Americas, especially the Caribbean, Central and South America. Panelists spoke to their own research and/or development work in global South (especially in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean) as well as a recently organized action-research consortium to assess the status of racial inequality, the current state of racial politics, and the efficacy (or lack thereof) of racial policies pertaining to blacks in the Latin American region and, comparatively, in the Americas as a whole. The inter-institutional, inter-American consortium, with its connections to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and its follow-up Durban Review process, has an applied research agenda aimed at identifying enduring obstacles to overcoming racism in the Américas including a focus on assessing the nature of and issues facing Black Studies in the region.


Aurora Vergara-Figueroa is a Ph.D. student in Sociology and Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a member of GAUV- Grupo Afrocolombiano de la Universidad del Valle, has actively worked to advance Afro-Columbian Studies in her native Colombia. She is now a doctoral student in Sociology and Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she is an active member of the Black Cultures and Racial Politics in the Americas Research Working Group.

Joseph Jordan‘s research focuses on the interaction of art, politics and culture in the African diaspora. His recent work includes: “Afro-Colombia: A Case for Pan-African Analysis” (book chapter) in Transnational Blackness: Navigating the Global Color-Line, Critical Black Studies Series (2008); “Globilizacíon y Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual: Problemas y Perspectivas,” /Política Exterior y Soberania. Publicacíon Trimestral del Instituto de Altos Estudios Diplomáticos ‘Pedro Gual’ ,/Julio-Septiembere 2007; “Cabral, Solidarity and the African Diaspora in the Americas” (book chapter) in /Cabral no Cruzamento de Épocas: Comunicações e Discursos  Produzidos no II Simpósio Internacional Amílcar Cabral/, (2005); “The Call of Revolution: The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1970’s” (book chapter) in No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists, 1953-2002, Africa World Press (2007). He also has a chapter entitled: “Every Little Bit Hurts: Paul Gilroy, Moral Panic, and the Soundtrack of Globalisation,” in /The Paul Gilroy Reader, /UNC Press (Forthcoming). He is a professor in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies UNC-Chapel Hill

Agustin Lao-Montes is a Professor of Sociology, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, and Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his fields of specialty include: world-historical sociology and globalization, political sociology (esp. social movements, & sociology of state and nationalism), social identities & social inequalities, sociology of race and ethnicity, urban sociology/community-universit partnerships, African Diaspora and Latino Studies, sociology of culture and cultural sudies, and contemporary theory and postcolonial critique.His publications include /Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York City/ edited volume,co-editor with Arlene Davila), Columbia University Press, 2001; /Technofuturos: Critical Interventions on Latino Studies/. (volume co-edited with Nancy Mirabal, 2007); /Global Hegemony, States, and Antisystemic Movements: Politics and the Political in the Late Modern World-System/ (volume co-edited with Joya Misra, 2007); and /World-Cities and World-Regions://New Constellations of Political, Economic, and Cultural Power/ (volume co-edited with Ramon Grosfoguel, 2007).

Izielen Agbon is an energy economist and petroleum engineer who has spent the past decade in Venezuela. Originally from Nigeria, he came to study in the U.S. during the 1970s, and first encountered the Black Studies movement. He completed his dissertation “Class and Economic Development in Nigeria, 1900-1980: Plans, Struggle, Workers, Peasants” at The University of Texas at Austin in 1985. In addition to his continued efforts to create an analytical framework within which the relationships among the State, social classes and Foreign Capital in Nigeria can be examined, he joins the other panelists in theorizing and analyzing the “worlding” of Black Studies.

Amilcar Shabazz conducts historical research with an emphasis on the political economy, social and cultural movements, education, and heritage preservation and representations of African people. His book Advancing Democracy: African Americans and the Struggle for Access and Equity in Higher Education in Texas (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), received numerous honors including the T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award and being ranked a top ten nonfiction book by Essence Magazine. His newest book, co-edited with Celia R. Daileader and Rhoda E. Johnson, is Women & Others: Perspective on Race, Gender, and Empire (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2007). Shabazz has also published The Forty Acres Documents, a sourcebook on reparations, along with journal articles, book chapters, reviews and writings in publications as diverse as The Source Magazine of Hip-Hop Music, Culture & Politics. An international scholar, he is a Fulbright Senior Specialist and has done work in Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Cuba, Mali, France, Nicaragua, and Jamaica. Presently, he is completing an historical biography entitled “Master of the Blast: Carter Wesley the Revolutionary Pragmatist.”




  • The Black International as a frame to be infused in our Black/Africana Studies curriculum
  • Hemispheric Blackness
  • Comprehensive model of action; how will this model impact Black/Africana Studies?
  • More educational partnerships


The need to rethink and redefine the field : geneaology – three moments in a long history

  1. 1920s Arturo Schomberg—head of Negro Studies Academy
  2. 1940 Afro-America journal published in Mexico (2 volumes)
  3. 1st Congress of Black Cultures in the Americas in 1977 in Cali
  4. Critical (critique of domination linked to struggle for liberation) Africana Studies—decolonization of knowledge and power} Black politics/power/studies
    1. Age of Revolution
    2. Negritude
    3. 1960s/1970s
    4. Today
    5. Critical (critique of domination linked to struggle for liberation) Africana Studies
      1. The Coloniality of Power (Anibal Quijano) – world historical regime of power: racism, capitalism, patriarchy, 4 (Anthony Pogue) – heretics/prophets
      2. The need to see the traditions Radical Pan-Africanism/Radical African Feminism
      3. Durban Conference and Post-Durban Process (N->S)
      4. N-S dialogue and partnerships (both US-centrism/Bordieu position must be thrown out)
      5. Recommendations:
        1. Convene a conference on Black Studies in the Americas
        2. Develop a research agenda: Mapping the movements
        3. Institutional and programmatic goals
        4. Dialogue and publications
        5. A political agenda – Diaspora as a project of liberation and decolonization


  • Black Studies is a product of struggle—if it doesn’t regenerate itself it dies
  • “The study of people of African Descent” :: The definition covers what we studies
  • How are they circulating the struggle? What are the methods? The global future at all times.
  • Consider a study that keep time constant and let location vary (e.g., 1960-1980: What are the children of Africa doing?)
  • Two foci: 1. Black movements (young people insist on African studies) ; 2. Databank


PowerPoint presentation.