The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) and Center for Black Visual Culture (CBVC) at New York University are both interdisciplinary spaces for students, faculty, post-doc fellows, artists, scholars and the general public. Founded in 1969, IAAA’s mission continues to research, document, and celebrate the cultural and intellectual production of Africa and its diaspora in the Atlantic world and beyond with a commitment to the study of Blacks in modernity through concentrations in Pan-Africanism and Black Urban Studies. The CBVC, expanding on that mission, is a space for scholarly and artistic inquiry (framing and reframing) into the understanding and exploration of images focusing on black people globally with critical evaluation of images in multiple realms of culture, including how various archives and the development of visual technologies affect the construction of representations.

The goals of IAAA and CBVC converge to promote and encourage collaborative research projects,   experimental learning and open spaces to the larger community for broad and thematic discussions through various, diverse and dynamic public programming and initiatives by way of conferences, lectures, workshops, screenings, exhibitions, readings, performances, visiting scholars, artist residencies and publications.

Activism: The Artist/Scholar & Social Practice

Citizenship and rights are topics and perhaps “conditions” that countries have always had to be engaged and struggled with over time. Who is allowed to enter and become a citizen with rights and which rights are given to certain citizens are now more than ever at the forefront on the global stage. It was Ida B. Wells who said, “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.” How do we examine and interpret seminal archives, those reliable and unreliable, through the lenses of citizenship and rights to generate new discourse and action while providing a platform for critical engagement? Join us as we re-examine these ideas and questions, as we think about the pursuit of freedom, education, and joy in the upcoming year through creative collaborations with scholars, writers, filmmakers, artists, photographers, activists and the general public.


We thank NYU’s Office of the Provost, Tisch School of the Arts Office of the Dean, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Department of Photography & Imaging, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality (CSGS); the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, The New York Institute for the Humanities, Aperture Foundation, Africa House, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additionally, we express much gratitude to the speakers and performers and the following people for their advice and assistance in making this year’s program possible: Manthia Diawara, Frances Pollitt Sarver, Pamela Newkirk, Renee Cox, Michael Dinwiddie, Clyde Taylor, Danny Glover, Awam Amkpa, Mansita Diawara, Niki Kekos, Jennifer Morgan, Mary Gibson-Taylor, Linda Morgan, Cyd Fulton, Kellie Jones, Eric Banks, Jeff Rabhan, Jason King, Michelle Golden, Mary Natori, Edgar Castillo, Lorie Novak, Kalia Brooks, Patricia McKelvin, Angela Messina, For Freedoms 50 States Initiative, April Hunt and Paola Zanzo of SparkplugPR.

Jaïra Placide and Deborah Willis.


New York University’s New York Institute for the Humanities, Office of the Dean, Tisch School of the Arts, The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Department of Photography & Imaging, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Africa House, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, the Prison Education Program, Aperture Foundation, For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Center for Media, Culture and History.





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