The Black Atlantic at Twenty — a two day symposium — come join us!  Here’s the program:


Keynote: Paul Gilroy, English, King’s College, London.

Twenty years after the publication of Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993), scholarship no longer simply posits the relationship between blackness and modernity as an irreconcilable problem. Though Gilroy posited The Black Atlantic as a ‘heuristic’ work, his  ideas engendered debates in history, anthropology, and literary studies as well as political thought and philosophyareas once perceived as the exclusive domain of an organic and hermetically sealed Western tradition. The Black Atlantic @ Twenty symposium (BA@20) aims to explore how Gilroy’s insistence that blackness figures as a constitutive element of modernity has effected a lasting transformation in knowledge production.

Thursday, October 24

In the wake of The Black Atlantic: Pedagogy and Practice

5:30-7:00pm, Elebash Recital Hall

In this roundtable discussion, faculty from various programs at CUNY will ask how their own scholarly practices have been changed by the work of Paul Gilroy and his many students. Specifically, they will examine the ways that Gilroy’s anti-nationalist analyses have—or have not—disrupted common practices within traditional disciplines. Drawing on courses taught in a variety of departments in the Fall 2013, Herman BennettJacqueline Brown,Susan Buck-MorssKandice ChuhDuncan FahertySujatha FernandesRuth Wilson Gilmore and Robert Reid-Pharr will ask whether it is possible to produce innovative work around race, colonization, cosmopolitanism, and imperialism while also continuing to privilege traditional modes of intellectual inquiry. They will also begin a conversation about how the Graduate Center community might begin to restructure its basic research and pedagogical practices.

Friday, October 25

10:00-11:00am: Stephan PalmiéFor Reasons of History: Anthropology and the Black Atlantic, The Skylight Room, 9100

11:30am-12:30pm: Tina CamptRhizomorphs, Fractals and Other Formalities: A Black Atlantic Mixtape, The Skylight Room, 9100

2:30-3:30pm: Eric LottOpen Letters, The Skylight Room, 9100

4:00-6:00pm: Paul GilroyThe Half-Life of the Black Atlantic, Proshansky Auditorium

Cosponsored by The Academic Research Collaborative, the Certificate Program in American Studies, the Caribbean Epistemologies Seminar in the Humanities, IRADAC, and the Revolutionizing American Studies Initiative.




The Black Atlantic @ Twenty (BA@20) is a CUNY Graduate Center initiative, in collaboration with teacher-scholars at New York University, that recognizes the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness as an occasion for critical reflection on the impact of that work.

On 24-25 October 2013, we will stage a roundtable discussion featuring CUNY faculty from a variety of disciplines to talk about the influence of Gilroy’s work since its publication.  Paul Gilroy will give a lecture on 25 October, which will also feature talks by Tina Campt and Stephan Palmie, among others.

CUNY and NYU faculty will also be offering courses related to the book and its major themes throughout AY2013-14, including, in fall 2013, those described below.  In spring 2014, look for related courses offered by Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Tavia Nyong’o, again among others.

Details about all of this will be forthcoming as specifics unfold!


BA@20 Fall 2013 courses — please see relevant departments for specific registration and meeting time information.

IDS 81660: Re-visiting The Black Atlantic: Knowledge, Disciplinarity, & Diasporic Formations

Professor Herman L. Bennett & Professor Jennifer L. Morgan (NYU)


As part of the Graduate Center initiative, The Black Atlantic @ 20, and in collaboration with New York University, this seminar examines how Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity & Double Consciousness (1993) has influenced scholars to re-configure their theorization of the past and the writing of history.  For this reason, the course is not strictly configured as an exercise in historiography—the effort to historicize scholarly writings on a particular theme or event in the past.  Even as this course analyzes selective historiographies related to slavery, race making, and freedom, our attention will always be directed at the ways that scholars since the publication of The Black Atlantic have approached these themes in relation to the narrative of modernity.




English 85000:  Specters of the Black Atlantic: Reconsidering Race and Freedom in the

Circum-Atlantic World 1768-1859 Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 2/4 credits.

Professor Duncan Faherty

By placing Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic in conversation with the work of C.L.R. James, Ian Baucom, Avery Gordon, Stephanie Smallwood, Fred Moten, Ivy Wilson, Joseph Roach, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Kenneth Warren, and others, this course aims to explore the ways in which an “Africanist” presence shaped the formation of the circum-Atlantic world. In so doing, we will consider the ways in which issues of race, freedom, unfreedom, and personal sovereignty were the fundamental concerns of the age of revolutions (even when texts are seemingly silent about racial categories). In essence, we will sound out the contours of how the themes of freedom and individualism which have been proffered as the emblematic themes of “American literature” are in fact dependent on a manifestly unfree black population.



ENGLISH  80600:  The Black Pacific.

Professor Kandice Chuh


This course takes as its point of departure Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic to open questions about space, race, and history. In what ways are critical engagements with race subtended by naturalized or occluded spatial protocols?  Is blackness a meaningful category when located within the frame of the Pacific?  What is the relationship between blackness and Asiatic racialization when situated in this way?  What might we learn about geography and history as technologies of racialization by thinking and working through the construct of “the black Pacific”?  What kinds of politics and ethics emerge from thinking “the black Pacific”?  How do the insights garnered by thinking through this construct compel the re-articulation of the ways in which literary and other studies are divided by place and time, and in what ways?



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