Program Events

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM
The Other Side of Terror: Black Women and the Culture of US Empire

Moderated by Evie Shockley, with remarks by Roderick FergusonAvery GordonFred MotenNadine Naber, Mary Helen Washington, and Erica R. Edwards

American Studies event - book cover of The Other Side of Terror

The year 1968 marked both the height of the worldwide Black liberation struggle and a turning point for the global reach of American power, which was built on the counterinsurgency honed on Black and other oppressed populations at home. The next five decades saw the consolidation of the culture of the American empire through what Erica R. Edwards calls the “imperial grammars of blackness.” 

This is a story of state power at its most devious and most absurd, and, at the same time, a literary history of Black feminist radicalism at its most trenchant. Edwards reveals how the long war on terror, beginning with the late–Cold War campaign against organizations like the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the Black Liberation Army, has relied on the labor and the fantasies of Black women to justify the imperial spread of capitalism. Black feminist writers not only understood that this would demand a shift in racial gendered power, but crafted ways of surviving it. 

The Other Side of Terror offers an interdisciplinary Black feminist analysis of militarism, security, policing, diversity, representation, intersectionality, and resistance, while discussing a wide array of literary and cultural texts, from the unpublished work of Black radical feminist June Jordan to the memoirs of Condoleezza Rice to the television series Scandal. With clear, moving prose, Edwards chronicles Black feminist organizing and writing on “the other side of terror”, which tracked changes in racial power, transformed African American literature and Black studies, and predicted the crises of our current era with unsettling accuracy. 

Register at to receive a discount code.  Please also make sure to register here in order to receive the webinar link to join the event.

Sponsored by the CUNY Graduate Center American Studies Certificate Program and the PhD Program in English, New York University Performance Studies, and the Departments of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. 

Past Events

Friday, September 25, 2020, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM
Meet the Faculty and Students Open Session

Event Flyer American Studies

Please join us for a virtual meet and greet. You will have a chance to meet some of the American Studies faculty and ask questions related to the Certificate Program. Register at  to access the Zoom link to join.

October 8, 4:00pm-5:30pm (via Zoom) 
American Studies Working Group Meeting 

Students and faculty interested in and/or affiliated with the American Studies Certificate Program are invited to attend an informal gathering of what we've dubbed our Working Group on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.  The point first and foremost is to gather; we will discuss, among other things of current interest, Scott Kurashige's 2019 American Studies Association Presidential Address, "'Unruly Subjects': American Studies from Antidiscipline to Revolutionary Praxis," which appeared over the summer in American Quarterly 72.2 (2020): 307-36 (despite the page span it's relatively brief).  The address will give us the chance to reflect on American Studies institutional trajectories, intellectual genealogies, and political affiliations at the present time, and gathering at this parlous moment might be just the note of sociality and solidarity we could use right now.   

October 15, 4:30pm-6:00pm (via Zoom) 
Beyond Populism: A Panel Discussion 

Event Flyer American Studies Populism

The American Studies Certificate Program invites you to join us tomorrow Thursday Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m. for a panel discussion addressing issues raised in the newly released essay collection Beyond Populism: Angry Politics and the Twilight of Neoliberalism (West Virginia UP, 2020), edited by the Graduate Center's Jeff Maskovsky (Anthropology) and Vanderbilt University's Sophie Bjork-James.  The volume takes up global authoritarian populisms including Trumpism, Brexit, angry nationalisms of various stripes, worldwide mercenaries, antifascist resistance, varieties of necropolitics, and more.  Our panelists on October 5 will be Alyson Cole (Political Science, GC), Jeff Maskovsky,  Frances Fox Piven (Political Science, GC), and Don Robotham (Anthropology, GC).  Zoom link is below and we look forward to seeing you there. 

November 19, 4:30pm-6:00pm (Zoom) 
The Difference Aesthetics Makes, a roundtable on the book by Kandice Chuh, with Professors Chuh, Gayatri Gopinath (NYU), and Eng-Beng Lim (Dartmouth) 

Aesthetics book

The American Studies Certificate Program invites you to join us for a COVID-rescheduled panel discussion of Kandice Chuh's The Difference Aesthetics Makes: On the Humanities "After Man" (Duke UP, 2019).  Featured panelists will be Gayatri Gopinath (NYU), author of Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke UP, 2018) and Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke UP, 2005); Eng-Beng Lim (Dartmouth), author of Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias (NYU, 2014); and the GC's own Kandice Chuh, author of imagine otherwise: on Asian Americanist critique (Duke UP, 2003) as well as the remarkable study that occasions our gathering--a book Lisa Lowe describes as a "crucial" elaboration of "an aesthetics of 'illiberal' humanism that emerges from relations of difference, not identity; from dissensus, not consensus" and Roderick Ferguson calls an "exciting and ambitious" account of the way "minority literature presents itself as the productive other to dominant articulations of the aesthetic."   

March 2, 2021, 2:00pm-4:00pm, (via Zoom)
American Studies Working Group Article Workshop: Sophie Abramowitz

Sophie Abramowitz, currently an American Studies postdoctoral fellow at Brown, will discuss her December 2020 American Quarterly article, "'Trained and Taught This Song by Zora Hurston': Dramatic Ethnography and Zora Neale Hurston's The Great Day" (a pdf of the article is attached).  Sophie will offer a short presentation, play some clips, and talk about the piece's arguments and structure, her research process, and the structural constraints of doing this work as a graduate student (she received the Ph.D. two years ago).  Q&A to follow.  Please contact for Zoom link details.

April 22 2021, 5:00pm-6:30pm, (via Zoom)
American Studies Working Group Article Workshop: Irving J. Hunt (University of Illinois)

Our next spring Working Group article workshop will be Thursday, April 22, 5-6:30 p.m.  Our guest will be Irvin J. Hunt, currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois, who will join us to discuss his ​December 2020 American Quarterly article, "Planned Failure: George Schuyler, Ella Baker, and the Young Negroes' Cooperative League."  The article and the very brief organizing program the article discusses are attached.  Irvin's essay is very compelling in both rhetorical style and political reach; Schuyler the increasingly conservative satirist is here seen in a different political guise, and the early activities of civil rights stalwart Baker receive rare attention.  As with our excellent Sophie Abramowitz event last month, Irvin will offer a short presentation addressing the article's arguments and structure, his research process, and his editorial experience with AQ.  Then we'll converse as a group. 
Please contact us at for details on how to join.

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