I have enjoyed participating in a lot of reading groups at the University of Illinois. These have either been organized ad hoc, or through the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), or the former Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society. These groups have been critical to my intellectual growth as well as deepening friendships. The image in the header is from a wonderful 2019 exhibit at Gallery 400 in Chicago of the work of Alberto Aguilar.
2001, “The Arts and Humanities in Civic Life,” IPRH
Sheila has been an inspiration ever since I read her 2000 book, Further to Fly: Black Women and the Politics of Empowerment (University of Minnesota Press.)
By the time Suzanne arrived on campus in 2001, I was already well into my research on her new genre public art. Her incredible willingness to do all the events listed on the poster at right still amazes me. Thanks to Copenhaver Cumpston for designing the publicity materials!
2003-07, “Critical Studies of Whiteness,” Center on Democracy
This group was started by David Roediger when he was still at Illinois; we hosted Pem Davidson Buck, Michelle Fine , Robert Jensen, and Thandeka , among others. The readings and discussions in this group significantly shaped my thinking and continue to do so.
2005, “Performance Studies,” Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)
Organized by Julia Walker; we hosted Moira Roth, Mills College, Oakland, CA
2006-08, “Critical Spatial Practices,” IPRH
2008, “Race, Space and Law”
This group, co-organized with Ryan Griffis, Ken Salo, and Merle Bowen, focused on ways that space is racialized and how spaces are surveilled and policed. I believe we got some funding from the now-defunct Center on Democracy in a Multi-racial Society.