Rescheduled Symposium

We are excited to announce the rescheduled Women’s & Gender Studies symposium, Ferguson/Newark/Gender. This event will take place this Wednesday, April 1. In the wake of this month’s Justice Department report about racial bias in policing in Ferguson, this event is more relevant than ever, so we hope you will join us.

The first panel, “FROM FERGUSON TO #BLACKLIVESMATTER AND BEYOND” begins at 2:30pm in room 104–Center for Public Service (CPS also known as the “SPAA” building). The second panel, “QUEERING RIOTS, QUEERING ARCHIVES,” begins at 4:00pm in room 106–Ackerson Hall.

See our flyer below. FREE AND OPEN TO ALL. Hope to see you there!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1
–2:30-3:50pm, CPS 104–

FROM FERGUSON TO #BLACKLIVESMATTER AND BEYOND

Nyle Fort: Nothing to Lose But Our Chains

Darnell Moore, Black Futures and the Need for Black Imagination

–4-5:20pm, Ackerson 106 —

QUEERING RIOTS, QUEERING ARCHIVES

Elizabeth Parker, The Politics of Memory: Archiving Activism

Whitney Strub, Hidden Histories of a Gay Newark Left

Kwame Holmes, Beyond the Flames: Queering the History of Black Riots

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Presenters for Ferguson/Newark/Gender Symposium

We are proud to announce the line-up of our 2015 symposium, and also to thank #BlackLivesMatterNJ for joining our co-sponsors.

PANEL I: GENDER, ACTIVISM, AND COMMUNITY ORGANZING IN NEWARK

10:15-11:45am

Aimee Cox, Old Territories, New Narratives, and a Black Girl Sense of Place

Zenzele Isoke, Blackness and the Eternal Memorial: A New/Ark of Resistance

Nancy Zak, People Power in Ironbound & Newark: Stories of Community Organizing, 1969-2015

Shana Russell, moderator

PANEL II: FROM FERGUSON TO #BLACKLIVESMATTER AND BEYOND

1:00-2:25pm

Nyle Fort:  Nothing to Lose But Our Chains

Darnell Moore, Black Futures and the Need for Black Imagination

Donna Murch, Historicizing Ferguson: Police Violence and the Genesis of a National Movement

John Johnson, Jr., moderator

PANEL III: QUEERING RIOTS, QUEERING ARCHIVES

2:30-3:45pm

Elizabeth Parker, The Politics of Memory: Archiving Activism

Whitney Strub, Hidden Histories of a Gay Newark Left

Kwame Holmes, Beyond the Flames: Queering the History of Black Riots

Rabeya Rahman, moderator

PANEL I: GENDER, ACTIVISM, AND COMMUNITY ORGANZING IN NEWARK

A.Cox

Aimee Cox, Old Territories, New Narratives, and a Black Girl Sense of Place

Aimee Meredith Cox is a cultural anthropologist and tenured professor of Performance and African and African American Studies at Fordham University. Aimee’s first book, currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com, is Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke University Press, 2015). Her second book is an edited volume on Gender & Space (MacMillan). She is on the editorial board of The Feminist Wire and on the founding editorial board of Public: A Journal of Imagining America. Aimee is a former professional dancer who studied on scholarship at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and toured widely with Ailey II/The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. She is also the founder of BlackLight, a young women of color-led activist art initiative that produced community-based projects in Detroit, Newark, and New York City.

 Z.Isoke

Zenzele Isoke, Blackness and the Eternal Memorial: A New/Ark of Resistance

Zenzele Isoke is Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. She studies black women’s community politics and activisms in urban spaces. She teaches courses in feminist theory and methods, black feminist geographies, hip hop feminism, and women of color social movements.  Her first book entitled, Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance was published in Palgrave-MacMillan Press in 2013.   Her work has been published in Transforming Anthropology: A Journal of Black AnthropologyGender, Place, and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. Her second book project called “Unheard Voices at the Bottom of Empire: Translocal Sites of Black Feminist Resistance” is a qualitative examination of black women’s resistance politics across multiple sites in the black/African diaspora including the UAE, Twin Cities, Harlem and Brooklyn. Essays from her new book trace and theorize collective art-making initiatives, theorized as struggle art, organized by black women and transwomen within and across urban sites.

N.Zak

Nancy Zak, People Power in Ironbound & Newark: Stories of Community Organizing, 1969-2015

Nancy Zak is a Newark resident who has been working for Ironbound Community Corporation as a community organizer for over 35 years. She has been involved with a variety of citywide issues, including affordable housing, tenant rights, city budget issues, the right to speak, preserving the library, planning, zoning and environmental issues. She was a member of the first class of Rutgers Gus Henningburg Fellows, sponsored by the Institute of Ethnicity and Culture. Over the years, she has received many awards, including the Newark Fire Department Community Service Award, Wynona Lipman Award, the City of Newark, The Challenge of Caring Award from the East Ward Councilman, Power 15 Award (Newarks’ Most Influential Grassroots Leaders), the EPA Environmental Quality Award, and the Newark Public Schools Excellence Award for Partnership with the Community (elected by parents).   On the neighborhood level, for ICC, she has been active in toxic waste clean up, neighborhood planning and many other quality of life issues for and with Ironbound residents. She published a tri-lingual neighborhood newspaper, Ironbound Voices, for over twenty years. Two proud accomplishments are coordinating a successful park preservation effort for Riverbank Park, the 100 year old Olmsted park which was threatened with demolition, through a volunteer community group called SPARK (Save the Park at Riverbank) and helping to shepherd the new Riverfront Park to completion (2012-13). Nancy lives in Newark with her husband, Newark native Arnold Cohen, and her daughter Beth.

S.Russell

Shana A. Russell is an advanced doctoral candidate in American Studies. Her dissertation in progress is an analysis of black domestic and sex workers and their relationship to the labor movement of the early twentieth century. The project demonstrates that black women workers shaped and were shaped by theories of class consciousness and put these theories into practice through organizing. Shana’s work has been featured in the anthology From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Narrative on Black Life, released in 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, and in the Marxist journal Science and Society. In her spare time Shana blogs about contemporary issues facing domestic workers, a virtual space that she considers her scholarly cutting room floor.

PANEL II: FROM FERGUSON TO #BLACKLIVESMATTER AND BEYOND

N.Fort

Nyle Fort:  Nothing to Lose But Our Chains

Nyle Fort is an ordained minister, freelance writer, and community organizer based in Newark, NJ. He received a BA in English from Morehouse College, and a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has worked in the fields of education, criminal justice, and youth development for nearly a decade in various capacities including as Youth Director at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, a Newark Public Schools instructor, a programming designer at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center, and a fellow at the St. Andrew Centre for Human Resources and Development in Southern India.

As an activist committed to social justice, Nyle organizes in his local community of Newark, NJ – as well as throughout the nation. He works alongside local, regional, and national organizations to address issues such as police brutality, educational inequality, and the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as larger issues of racism, sexism, poverty, and homophobia. Most recently, Nyle travelled to Ferguson, Missouri with the #BlackLivesMatter network to help organize protests, establish community programs, and build the national movement against anti-black State violence. Since returning from St. Louis, he has established Newark’s first Books and Breakfast program, which provides new books and a healthy breakfast for local youth and families in the effort to increase literacy rates and health education.

In addition to his community organizing work, Nyle has presented public talks both domestically and abroad. He has guest lectured at various colleges and universities including Princeton University, Vassar College, Fordham University and Providence College for Women in Tamil Nadu (S. India). In addition, Nyle has delivered speeches and sermons at various academic, religious, and cultural institutions including Harvard University, New York University, the Malcolm X and Betty Shabbazz Center (formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom), and the historic Riverside Church in Harlem, NY. Furthermore, his writings have been published in several academic presses including Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, QED: A Journal in GBLTQ Worldmaking, Syndicate Theology, and, most recently, Socialism and Democracy where his essay is featured alongside the likes of Angela Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Currently, he is the research assistant to Princeton University Professor Dr. Imani Perry, as well as a “scholar-in-residence” in the Urban Issues Institute at Essex County College.

It is important to Nyle that his intellectual work extends beyond the academy. As a freelance writer, his work has appeared in various popular media outlets including The Guardian, Gawker, The Nation, Urban Cusp, The Feminist Wire, and more. Nyle believes in the power of people, the pursuit of justice, and the possibility of building a new world. He is currently deciding between doctoral programs in Religion and/or African-American Studies.

D.Moore

Darnell Moore, Black Futures and the Need for Black Imagination

Darnell Moore is a writer and educator. He is the co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire. He also teaches in the Africana Studies department at Vassar College. He co-organized the Black Lives Matter Ride to Ferguson along with BLM co-creator, Patrisse Cullors, and was appointed by Mayor Cory Booker as inaugural Chair of the City of Newark LGBT Concerns Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey. Among his many other efforts, he is co-founder of the groundbreaking Queer Newark Oral History Project.

D.Murch

Donna Murch, Historicizing Ferguson: Police Violence and the Genesis of a National Movement

Donna Murch is associate professor of history at Rutgers University and has been co-director of the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis and the Black Atlantic. Her teaching and research specializations are postwar U.S. history, modern African American history, and twentieth-century urban studies. Professor Murch has published several scholarly articles and the book Living for the City: Migration, Education and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of History at U.C. Berkeley and has won numerous fellowships and awards, including a Teaching Effectiveness Award and a Woodrow Wilson postdoctoral fellowship. Professor Murch is currently researching a new book on black youth culture, informal economy and drugs in the 1980s.

J.Johnson

Dr. John Johnson, Jr., is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Graduate School of Newark at Rutgers University – Newark. His dissertation, titled “Zion Which Cannot Be Moved: A study of Weequahic, the Genealogy of Community, and the Limits of Liberalism in Newark, New Jersey,” traces the impact of 1950s urban renewal on the middle class residential community of Weequahic in Newark, and considers the larger effects of post-World War II housing policy on the possibility of an urban interracial neighborhood.  Outside of his scholarly pursuits, John busies himself expanding his music catalogue, refereeing fencing competitions, and taking pictures.

PANEL III: QUEERING RIOTS, QUEERING ARCHIVES

Bio_Photo

Elizabeth Parker, The Politics of Memory: Archiving Activism

Elizabeth Parker is the Associate Archivist for the Puerto Rican Community Archive, the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center at the Newark Public Library. In 2000, Ms Parker received her Bachelor’s from Colby College in Waterville, ME where she majored in both History and Classical Civilizations. Ms. Parker went on to receive a Master’s in Classical Civilizations from Columbia University in 2003 and a Master of Library Science from Queens College in 2011 with a focus on Archival Studies.

After serving as an intern at the Barnard College Archives and the American Numismatic Society Archives, Ms. Parker joined the PRCA as the associate archivist in 2012. During her time in the PRCA, Ms. Parker has overseen The Justice Project and the Latino Life Stories project, part of the Latino Oral History Collection; she processed the personal papers of noted Puerto Rican activist and educator Dr. Hilda Hidalgo; she has presented on the work of the PRCA to scholarly groups such as the Puerto Rican Studies Association; and published an article on Latinos’ contributions to the historical record of New Jersey, focusing specifically on the life and work of Dr. Hidalgo. Having just finished her work on “Newark ’74: Remembering the Puerto Rican Riots – An Unexamined History,” Ms. Parker published an article outlining the historiography of these events, hoping to encourage further attention and study of the “Latino riots” in New Jersey.

She is currently processing the papers of Dr. Marco Liederman and Dr. Maria Canino so that they may be made available to the community.

W.Strub

Whitney Strub, Hidden Histories of a Gay Newark Left

Whitney Strub is director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program and associate professor in the History Department. A member of the Queer Newark Oral History Project, he has written two books about modern sexual politics, and blogs about films shot in Newark at https://strublog.wordpress.com/.

K.Holmes

Kwame Holmes, Beyond the Flames: Queering the History of Black Riots

Kwame Holmes is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his phd from the department of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, is the author of “What’s The T: Gossip and the Production of Black Gay Social History” which will appear in Radical History Review’s special issue on Queering Archives and is at work on a book manuscript entitled Chocolate to Rainbow City: Liberalism and Displacement in the Nation’s Capital, 1957-1999.  Chocolate to Rainbow City narrates how the racial, gender and sexual diversification of the middle class in the wake of the civil rights, women’s and gay liberation struggles in the Washington Metropolitan Area, one of the most progressive in the nation, foreclosed the possibility that “Chocolate City” could belong to the city’s working class black majority by the end of the 20th century.

R.Rahman

Rabeya Rahman is Administrative Assistant for the Department of African American and African Studies and the Department of History. A double Rutgers alumna, she obtained her B.A. in History and South Asian Studies from Rutgers College and her M.A. in History from Rutgers University-Newark and New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Women’s & Gender Studies Symposium, Thursday, March 5: Ferguson/Newark/Gender

Announcing the Annual Women’s & Gender Studies Symposium, Ferguson/Newark/Gender. This event will be held Thursday, March 5, 9:30am-3:30pm in the Paul Robeson Campus Center, rooms 255-7. There will be three panels on topics including #BlackLivesMatter, community organizing in Newark, and queer readings of riots and archives. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to drop in for any or all of the panels, which feature a combination of speakers from academia, activism, and beyond.

The event is free and open to the public. A poster is included below. Please feel free to bring friends, and we hope to see you there!

Flier-Symposium reduced   copy

David Wojnarowicz Event February 17th

Next week’s Wojnarowicz event at the Paul Robeson Galleries will feature a presentation by freelance writer and founding director of Pop-Up Museum of Queer History, Hugh Ryan, and photographer Matt Leifheit. Ryan’s lecture will be about Wojnarowicz’s final secret: The Magic Box, a mysterious assortment of symbolic objects that was found only after Wojnarowicz’s death. The Magic Box is currently housed within The Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU, but Leifheit’s photographs will give the audience a chance to see these items themselves. [1]

Ryan’s presentation will be based on an article that he wrote for VICE Magazine. He will also draw upon Wojnarowicz’s published writings and diaries as well as Cynthia Carr’s biography of the artist, Fire in the Belly. The lecture will consider the objects’ significance and investigate why Wojnarowicz took such pains to keep them hidden. Ryan will address a range of topics including writing, art history, photographic technique, and AIDS activism. [2]

For more of Ryan’s work on queer history, follow the link for an op-ed he wrote about the New York Historical Society’s 2013 exhibition on the first five years of the AIDS crisis, “How to Whitewash a Plague.” Check back soon for an update about what time the event will be on the 17th!

[1] Ryan, Hugh. “The Final Secret of David Wojnarowicz.” Hugh Ryan. 2014. Accessed February 9, 2015. https://hughryan.squarespace.com/the-final-secret-of-david-wojnarowicz/.

[2] Ryan, Hugh. “The Final Secret of David Wojnarowicz.”

David Wojnarowicz Event

A David Wojnarowicz event to be hosted by the Paul Robeson Gallery is scheduled for the week of February 17th. David Wojnarowicz was a New York City-based mixed-media artist and writer whose work took on a sharp political edge in the late 80s after he was diagnosed with HIV and became involved with AIDS activism.[1]

Although Wojnarowicz died of an AIDS-related illness in 1992, the controversy his art has generated lives on. The most notable and recent example is the contention surrounding the Smithsonian Institution’s decision in December of 2010 to censor an edited DVD version of Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly from its exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”[2]  The “Hide/Seek” exhibition was notably the first major museum show in the U.S. devoted to homosexuality. The Smithsonian was pressured to censor Wojnarowicz’s film by The Catholic League and conservative U.S. congressional representatives who objected to an 11-second sequence in the film in which ants crawled over a crucifix. The resulting scandal about the film’s alleged attack on Christianity was amplified by the internet, which made it easier for protest campaigns against the films to be organized.[3] 

The scandal and internet technology together had the effect of giving Wojnarowicz’s work a wider distribution than it had ever had before as A Fire in My Belly was uploaded on YouTube and circulated widely.[4] Click the links to watch A Fire in My Belly or In The Shadow Of Forward Motiona film Wojnarowicz made with composer Ben Neill in 1989 that included footage from A Fire in My Belly. Also, this Washington Post article provides a contemporary perspective on the 2010 controversy. Click the following link for Wojnarowicz’s writings connected with his AIDS activism. VisualAIDS.org also provides further biographical information about Wojnarowicz and a sample of his visual art.

Stay tuned for more information about the February Wojnarowicz event at Rutgers University-Newark in the coming days and weeks!

[1] Richard Meyer, Outlaw Representation: Censorship & Homosexuality in Twentieth-century American Art (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002), 28.; “David Wojnarowicz.” Visual AIDS. Accessed February 01, 2015. https://www.visualaids.org/artists/detail/david-wojnarowicz.

[2] Catherine Lord, “Inside the Body Politic: 1980–present,” in Art & Queer Culture, by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer (New York: Phaidon Press, 2013), 43-44.

[3] Catherine Lord, “Inside the Body Politic: 1980–present,” in Art & Queer Culture, by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer (New York: Phaidon Press, 2013), 44.

[4] Catherine Lord, “Inside the Body Politic: 1980–present,” in Art & Queer Culture, by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer (New York: Phaidon Press, 2013), 44.