The Black Radical Tradition
March 6-7, 2020

University of Texas at Austin

In his groundbreaking work Black Marxism, Cedric Robinson located the origins of the Black Radical Tradition primarily in the works of three writers and thinkers: W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and Richard Wright. He noted that the radical thought of all three Black intellectuals emerged in conversation with, and eventually departed from, orthodox Marxism in favor of collective struggle that prioritized Black history and culture and the entanglements of race and capitalist exploitation. Since the publication of Black Marxism in 1983, scholars have expanded on Robinson’s formulation by excavating diverse Black Radical Traditions; by exploring how gender, sexuality, nationality, and ideological debates contributed to Black radicalism; and by locating the tradition among a wider swath of people beyond intellectual and literary elites.

Building on both Robinson’s work and that of contemporary scholars, this conference welcomes interdisciplinary panels that consider the Black Radical Tradition from a variety of perspectives, including, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, religion, secularism, politics, class, popular culture, art, and literature. We also welcome proposals from scholars of Black radical thought outside of the United States, as well as those working on digital humanities and community activism.

The AAIHS invites scholars across career stages and affiliations (from graduate students to senior faculty and independent scholars) to submit proposals for scholarly papers (15- minute presentations), organized panels of three or four papers and a chair/commentator, poster sessions, lecture-demonstrations, film screenings, or workshops. We will accept individual paper submissions, but will give preference to full panel proposals that reflect the diversity of the profession, especially regarding gender and career stage. Full panels should have no more than one presenter from the same institution. No ‘manels’ (all-male panels) or all-white panels will be accepted.

Proposals will be accepted on the AAIHS website between August 1, 2019 and October 15, 2019. Individual proposals should include: an abridged C.V. (1-2 pages) and abstract of no more than 250 words. Complete panel proposals should include: (1) a panel abstract and title (2) a 250-word abstract for each paper (3) names, contact information, institutional affiliation, and an abridged C.V. for each presenter (4) names and contact information for the panel chair and commentator (5) format of the presentation (e.g., paper, poster, panel) and A/V equipment requirements.


Conference Planning Committee:

  • Christopher Cameron, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Chair
  • Ashley Farmer, University of Texas at Austin
  • Charisse Burden-Stelly, Carleton College
  • Phillip Luke Sinitiere, College of Biblical Studies
  • Tiana Wilson, University of Texas at Austin


Keynote Speaker

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. She is the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, which won the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book in 2016. She is also the editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction in 2018.

Her third book, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press.

Taylor is a widely sought public speaker and writer.  In 2016, she was named one that one hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018-2019, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018-2021.

Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesBoston ReviewParis ReviewGuardianThe NationSouls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, and beyond.  Taylor received her PhD in African American Studies at Northwestern University in 2013.  Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Northwestern University, Princeton University, and Lannan Foundation, among others. ​She is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University.


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