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Genealogies & Futures of Black Aesthetics (2019)

Honors the work of Mary Helen Washington. Innovative and provocative scholars & artists across a range of disciplines and aesthetic mediums investigate the relations of influence, resistance, and identification.

Event Information

April 25, 2019
April 26, 2019
9:00 - 6:00 PM
2115 Tawes Hall


Schedule subject to change. Free & open to the public.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

10 am to 12 pm. Nikhil Pal Singh’s Petrou Seminar w/ UMD graduate students (2115 Tawes) [Please note: As of 04.24.19, pre-registration for the workshop is now closed.]

1:30-3 pm. Opening Remarks & Roundtable  (2115 Tawes)

Opening Remarks: Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, UMD

Moderator: Robert Levine (English, UMD)

3:00-3:15 pm. Coffee Service. (Second Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

3:15-4:45 pm. Session 1: Gender & Radical Politics (2115 Tawes)

  • Saidiya Hartman (English & Comparative Literature, Columbia) [unable to attend]
  • Erik McDuffie (African American Studies & History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Moderator: I. Augustus Durham (President's Postdoctoral Fellow, English, UMD)

5-6:30 pm. Petrou Critic-In-Residence Keynote: "The Subject of Black Radicalism" (Ulrich)

Introduction: Mary Helen Washington (English, UMD)

6:30-8pm. Petrou Reception & After-hours Viewing of Posing Beauty in African American Culture (David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park)

Friday, April 26, 2019

8:30-9am. Coffee Service and Registration (First Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

9-9:30am. Welcome & Introductory Remarks (Ulrich)

9:30-11am. Session 2: Visual Culture & Radical Aesthetics (Ulrich)

  • Simone Browne (African American and African Diaspora, UT Austin)
  • Leigh Raiford (African American and African Diaspora, UC Berkeley)

Moderator: Jordana Moore Saggese (Art History & Archeology, UMD)

11-11:15am: Coffee Service (Second Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

11:15am-12:45pm. Session 3: Poetics & Performance (Ulrich)

  • Soyica Colbert (African American Studies & Theatre and Performance, Georgetown University)
  • Malik Gaines (Tisch School of the Arts, NYU)

Moderator: Julius Fleming, Jr. (English, UMD)

1-2pm. Lunch (Second Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

2:15-3:45pm. Session 4: Diasporas & Radical Politics (Ulrich)

Moderator: Chad Infante (English, UMD)

3:45-4pm: Coffee Service (Second Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

4-5:15pm. Session 5: Archives & Institutions (Ulrich)

Moderator: GerShun Avilez (English, UMD)

5:15-6pm. Refreshments and Edibles (Second Floor Atrium, Tawes Hall)

6-7:30pmClosing Plenary Performance: "Put a Little Honey in my Sweet Tea" (Ulrich)

Introduction: Tabitha Chester (TDPS, UMD)

  • E. Patrick Johnson (African American Studies & founder and director of the Black Arts Initiative, Northwestern)


Division of Research; College of Art & Humanities; Center for Synergy; Center for Literary & Comparative Studies; Departments of American Studies, Art History and Archaeology, English, History, Women's Studies; School of Music; School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies; Office of Diversity & Inclusion; Office of Undergraduate Studies; David C. Driskell Center; African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities (AADHUM); Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

Organizers & Planning Committee

Mary Helen Washington, Edlie Wong, Karen Nelson, Christina Walter

For more information contact: Edlie Wong (

Conference Visitor Information

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