Center for the Arts and Humanities

Fragmented Bodies of American Lynching:
Religion, Politics Representation

Organized by Tracey Hucks and Kim Benston
November 12—13, 2009

Thick black brush strokes representing fragmented bodies

Beginning with a keynote address by Dr. James H. Cone, whose current research analogizes the Christian cross and the lynching tree, "Fragmented Bodies" culminates in a full-day symposium featuring scholars working across multiple disciplines to explore the painful history and continuing legacy of lynching in America. Inflecting issues at the forefront of current research in American and African-American cultural studies, the panelists will probe lynching from varied perspectives, including: the ethics and politics of spectacle, sound, and representation; religion and violence; place, gender, and citizenship; and the continuing relevance of traumatic experience.

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Schedule

Events are held in Sharpless Auditorium, Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center (KINSC)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

7:00 p.m.

Keynote Lecture by Dr. James Cone: "Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree"
Supported by the President's Social Justice Speaker Series

James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr.Cone has published over 150 articles and eleven books, including the influential Black Theology & Black Power (1969) and A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), and his most recent work, Risks of Faith (1999). He is currently researching the theological connections between the cross and the lynching tree.

The Haverford College President's Office, here in partnership with the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center and the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, sponsors Visiting Scholars for Social Justice to engage the Haverford community in issues of broad concern including public health, economic justice, environmental policy, and peace and conflict resolution. Invited scholars engage the Haverford community through seminars, lectures, and social events open to students, faculty, staff, and the public.

Friday, November 13, 2009

9:45 a.m.

Introductory Remarks, Kim Benston & Tracey Hucks

9:50 a.m.

"Without Sanctuary," Part I

10:00–10:45 a.m.

Panel I: Imagining Lynching: Race, Religion, Violence, and the Logic of Representation

  • Tracey Hucks: "A Curious and Dreadful Pleasure": Religion, Lynching, and Trauma in James Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man."
  • Kim Benston: "(De)Constructing Whiteness: Lynching, Minstrelsy, and the Ellisonian Transaction of American Identities"

10:45 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Panel II: (Re)Producing Lynching: The Politics of Representation

  • Sandy Alexandre: "Can a Lynching Photograph Be Iconic?"
  • Gus Stadler: "Never Heard Such a Thing: Lynching and Phonographic Modernity"

12:15–1:45 p.m.

Break

1:45–2:00 p.m.

"Without Sanctuary," Part II

2:00–3:00 p.m.

Panel III: (En)Gendering Lynching: Body, Personhood, and Power

  • Lee H. Butler, Jr.: "This is My Body, Broken ... For You"
  • Deborah Barnes: "The Three Faces of Eve: Women and Lynching"

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Panel IV: (Re)Imagining Lynching: History and the Changing Same

  • Natasha Barnes: "Memory as Mimesis: Performance and Ritual in Lynching Remembrance"
  • Kevin Miles: "Lynching as Post-Traumatic Metaphor and the Terror of Freedom"

4:00–4:10 p.m.

Coffee / Tea Break

4:10–4:30 p.m.

Remarks from Dr. James H. Cone

4:30–5:15 p.m.

Concluding Roundtable Discussion


Speakers

Sandy Alexandre
Sandy Alexandre

Sandy Alexandre is Assistant Professor of English at MIT. Professor Alexandre has written on the intersection of race and pedagogy. Her recently published essays include "Out on a Limb: The Spatial Politics of Lynching Photography" and "From Sight to Sore Eyes: On the Limits of an Ocular Logic." Her forthcoming book, Strange Fruits in the Garden: Surveying the Properties of Lynching, will examine the connection between black dispossession and racial violence.

Deborah Barnes
Deborah Barnes

Deborah Barnes is Director of the Aggie Impact Scholars Bridge Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Her academic publications have focused on the works of Toni Morrison, as well as Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, and Arthur P. Davis. Prior to working at NC A&T, Dr. Barnes was an Associate Professor in the English Department at Gettysburg College. During a 2001 sabbatical from that institution, she researched discourses of race and lynching. Currently studying published lynching accounts of the post-Civil War era, particularly lynching narratives, Dr. Barnes aims to examine the realities of racial terrorism and prejudice in the United States.

Natasha Barnes

Natasha Barnes is Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Published in such journals as Small Axe and Researches in African Literatures, Professor Barnes has extensively researched Anglophone Caribbean and African-American literature. In 2002, she collaborated with James Allen on the award-winning Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. Her most recent book, Cultural Conundrums: Race, Gender, Nation and the Making of Caribbean Cultural Politics, was published by University of Michigan Press in 2006.

Kim Benston
Kim Benston

Kim Benston is the Francis B. Gummere Professor of English and former director of the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center at Haverford College. Professor Benston's scholarly interests include: race theory, performance studies, African-American literature and cultural studies, photographic history and theory, and critical animal studies. His books include Baraka: The Renegade and the Mask, Speaking for You: The Vision of Ralph Ellison, and Performing Blackness. He is currently editing the volume Who Blew Up America?: African-American Culture and the Crisis of 'Terrorism' for Chain Books.

Lee H. Butler, Jr.
Lee H. Butler, Jr.

Lee H. Butler, Jr. is Professor of Theology and Psychology at Chicago Theological Seminary and current President of the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Professor Butler’s research includes: African-American identity formation, African indigenous religions, religiosity and spirituality, and Black and Womanist theologies, with a close focus on pastoral care and counseling. Professor Butler’s books include Loving Home: Caring for African-American Marriage and Family and Liberating our Dignity, Saving our Souls. His forthcoming book is entitled, Listen My Son: Wisdom for African American Fathers.

Dr. James Cone
Dr. James H. Cone

James H. Cone is the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Cone has published over 150 articles and eleven books, including the influential Black Theology & Black Power (1969) and A Black Theology of Liberation (1970), and his most recent work, Risks of Faith (1999). He is currently researching the theological connections between the cross and the lynching tree.

Tracey Hucks
Tracey Hucks

Tracey Hucks is Associate Professor of Religion at Haverford College. Professor Hucks's current classes include "Race, Culture, Representation: Blacks and Jews in America," "Religion and Ethnography," and "Introduction to African and Africana Studies." Her research interests include: the history of religion in America, African-American religious history, and the study of African Religions in the Americas. Her forthcoming book is entitled, Approaching the African God: Religious Nationalism and the Making of an African American Yoruba Tradition in North America.

Kevin Miles
Kevin Miles

Kevin Miles is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Earlham Collegein Richmond, Indiana. Having received his Ph.D. from DePaul University in Chicago, he has published essays on W. E. B. Du Bois and race. Professor Miles also teaches film studies and interpretive practices. He is currently teaching and researching the philosophical and political implications of authority and the figure of the father in ancient Greek political thought.

Gus Stadler
Gustavus Stadler

Gustavus Stadler is Associate Professor of English at Haverford College. His book Troubling Minds: The Cultural Politics of Genius in the U.S., 1840-1890 was recently published by the University of Minnesota Press. Professor Stadler's scholarly interests include queer and gender studies, the intersections of authorship, genius, and culture, and theories and histories of sound and listening.