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Julius Fleming, Jr.

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Assistant Professor, English

3107 Tawes Hall
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Education

Ph.D., University of Pennsyslvania B.A., Tougaloo College

Research Expertise

African American/African Diaspora
American

Julius B. Fleming, Jr. earned a doctorate in English, and a graduate certificate in Africana studies, from the University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in Afro-Diasporic literatures and cultures, he has particular interests in performance studies, black political culture, diaspora, and colonialism, especially where they intersect with race, gender, and sexuality. Professor Fleming is currently completing his first book manuscript, entitled "Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Refusal to Wait for Freedom," under contract with New York University Press. This project reconsiders the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of black theatre, while examining the importance of time and affect to the making of the modern racial order. Analyzing a largely unexplored, transnational archive of black theatre, it demonstrates how black artists and activists used theatre and performance to unsettle the demands of a violent racial project he terms “black patience.” From the slave castle to the hold of the slave ship, from the auction block to commands to “go slow” in fighting segregation, black people have historically been forced to wait, coerced into performing patience. This books argues that during the Civil Rights Movement, black people’s cries for “freedom now”--at the lunch counter, in the streets, and importantly on the theatrical stage--disturbed the historical praxis of using black patience to manufacture and preserve anti-blackness and white supremacy.

Professor Fleming is also beginning work on a second book project that explores the new geographies of colonial expansion and their impact on Afro-diasporic literary and cultural production.

His work appears in American Literature, American Literary History, Callaloo, The James Baldwin Review, and The Southern Quarterly. Having served as Associate Editor of Callaloo, Professor Fleming is currently serving as Associate Editor of Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society. He has been awarded fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the University of Virginia's Carter G. Woodson Institute, the Social Science Research Council, and the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University.

Awards & Grants

Foerster Prize for Best Essay of the Year

“Julius B. Fleming Jr. assembles a wide-ranging and unique archive to theorize what he terms ‘black patience,’ a concept whose contours, uses, and misuses he traces with meticulous care and bold insight.

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Award Organization: American Literature
Dates:
In the process, he advances a methodological approach to black patience (and to other useful notions, including time and timing more generally) that should deeply inform scholarship in African American culture, political organizing, and performance. This essay is a feat of original research, syncretic analysis, and inventive theorization.”

Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar Award

Outgoing post-doctoral fellow, Julius Fleming, has been named the 2018 Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar, by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Award Organization: Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Dates:
The award is granted to ten “emerging faculty leaders who represent both research excellence and an extraordinary commitment to mentoring students and serving their campuses and professions,” said Stephanie J. Hull, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Julius has also received a second “Emerging Scholar” award from Comparative and International Education Society.

African Diaspora Emerging Scholar Award

The CIES panel of judges praised Fleming for his “creativity, inventiveness and vision” and noted his "commitment to mentorship and diversifying the academic realm."

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Award Organization: Comparative and International Education Society
Dates:
The CIES Emerging Scholar of the African Diaspora Award is given annually to exceptional scholars and artists whose work has positively impacted the educational, economic and artistic lives of African descendants across the African diaspora.

Publications

“A Poet’s Search for Black Humanism: Requiem for Alvin Bernard Aubert.”

On January 7, 2014, black poet, playwright, short story writer, editor, and literary critic Alvin Aubert made his final transition, just two days before the passing of our beloved Amiri Baraka.

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Dates:
Both losses dealt a forceful blow to audiences who have absorbed and wrestled with the word art of these two phenomenal writers whose love of blackness cut across any of their obvious differences. While Baraka was a canonized literary giant, a certain critical amnesia has enshrouded Aubert, who is, without a doubt, one of our great cultural workers. But in the wake of the unfortunate proximity of these two artists’ deaths, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to wrest Aubert from the grip of obscurity, and to better incorporate the richness of his life, his thought, and his creative production into the annals of our literary histories.

“‘Living Proof of Something So Terrible’: Pearl Cleage’s Bourbon at the Border and the Politics of Civil Rights History and Memory.”

In this timely and dynamic collection of essays, Laura Dubek brings together a diverse group of scholars to explore the literary response to the most significant social movement of the twentieth century.

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Dates:
Covering a wide range of genres and offering provocative readings of both familiar and lesser known texts, Living Legacies demonstrates how literature can be used not only to challenge the master narrative of the civil rights movement but also to inform and inspire the next generation of freedom fighters.

“Shattering Black Flesh: Black Intellectual Writing in the Age of Ferguson.”

This essay argues for the logic of radical proximity as a vital methodology for black intellectual writing in the “Age of Ferguson.”

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Dates:
It takes as its starting point age-old demands for scholars to maintain a critical distance from their objects of study. I demonstrate how the assumption of choice in calls for critical distance ignores the unruly character of trauma, history, and memory; ignores how, on occasion, they inflect black writing over and against the will of the author. To do so, I retrace the psychic routes of one of my own attempts to craft black intellectual writing in the age of Ferguson. Using personal storytelling as a critical narrative praxis, I argue that in the face of contemporary antiblack violence, and on the heels of New World slavery, injunctions against proximity are often futile—in so far as they aim to mediate relationalities routinely beyond the control of the writer. I conclude by advocating for multiple forms and platforms of black writing in the age of Ferguson. Black writers, I argue, must prevent social media—themselves technologies of neoliberal capitalism and promoters of its racial logics—from regulating what constitutes “authentic” grammars of black intellectual writing and political expression.

“Transforming Geographies of Black Time: How the Free Southern Theater Used the Plantation for Civil Rights Activism.”

This essay examines the cultural and political work of the Free Southern Theater, specifically how this company used plantations, porches, and cotton fields in order to build a radical black southern theater in the civil rights movement.

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Dates:
Staging plays like Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot for black southern audiences, the theater challenged a violent structure of time at the heart of global modernity that I call black patience. By this I mean an abiding historical demand for black people to wait: whether in the hold of the slave ship, on the auction block, or for emancipation from slavery. Focusing on the centrality of the plantation to the spatializing logics of black patience, I consider how the Free Southern Theater used performance to demand “freedom now” and to revise the oppressive histories of time rooted in the material geographies of the US South. Mounting time-conscious plays, the theater used temporal aesthetics to transform the region’s historical geographies of black time (e.g., the labor time of black slaves and sharecroppers working in cotton fields) into radical sites of black political action, aesthetic innovation, and embodied performance. Engaging and reinvesting the meanings of the South’s plantation geographies, the theater revealed how one hundred years after emancipation, time remained essential to procuring the afterlives of slavery and colonialism and to shoring up the region’s necropolitical attachments. Examining these aesthetic and political experiments illuminates the importance of time to the emerging field of black geographies and to the field of black studies more broadly.