The poet Nikki Giovanni wrote, in 1968, "perhaps these are not poetic / times / at all." She raised a question that is again pressing in 2015: During times when matters of life and death are at the forefront of our public discourse, what is the role, and what are the limits, of the humanities? How do the literary arts shape and react to media narratives about this crisis?
Three cultural critics--spoken word poet and education scholar Jamila Lysicott, publisher Lisa Lucas, and literary scholar Lavelle Porter--will grapple with these questions in a conversation about the position of various kinds of writing in movements for social change. We invite you to join in the conversation and to imagine what role you might play as a student, scholar, and citizen at this watershed moment in our nation's history.
Jamila Lyiscott is a spoken word artist and assistant professor at Long Island University. She engages the arts in her work as a scholar, educator, activist, and community organizer, and serves as director of Cyphers for Justice at Columbia University. Her TED talk, "Three Ways to Speak English," has been viewed over 3 million times.
Lisa Lucas is the publisher of Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics, which has featured work by, among others, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Susan Choi, Noam Chomsky, and Roxane Gay. She served as the director of education at Tribeca Film Institute, consulted for the Sundance Film Festival and is currently co-chair of the nonfiction committee for the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Lavelle Porter is an assistant professor of English at the New York City College of Technology and is currently working on a book, The Blackademic Life: Academic Fiction, Higher Education and the Black Intellectual. His work has been published in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, The New Inquiry and Warscapes.
Sponsored by the CHSS Foundation Fund, the Department of English, and the Visiting Writers Committee