Category Archives: Black Lives Matter

Black Feminism

Join us for a lecture by Catherine Knight Steele  (Department of Communication, University of Maryland)  on how black women utilize online blogging platforms in celebration and critique, in the process becoming an important counterpublic.

Black Joy and Resistance: Black Feminist Discourse Online

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 1 pm at 228 Battelle-Tompkins Hall

Dr. Steele’s latest project, and the topic of this lecture, is on digital black feminism and how the affordances of new media technology are shaping black feminist discourse online. She provides critical analysis of the digital culture of black and white feminist thought in the blogs  Jezebel and For Harriet, by examining what happens when the subject, the black body, at least temporarily does not exist as an ‘other’ but is squarely within a context that allows it to be merely a body.
As Jessie Daniels explains, “the Internet offers a “safe space” and a way to not just survive, but also resist, repressive sex/gender regimes. Girls and self-identified women are engaging with Internet technologies in ways that enable them to transform their embodied selves, not escape embodiment.”




About our speaker

Dr. Catherine Knight Steele is a scholar of race, gender and media with specific focus on African American culture and discourse in traditional and new media. She is a native Chicagoan and received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research has appeared in the Howard Journal of Communications and the book Intersectional Internet (S.U. Noble and B. Tynes Eds.) Her doctoral dissertation, Digital Barbershops, focused heavily on the black blogosphere and the politics of online counterpublics. She examines representations of marginalized communities in the media and how traditionally marginalized populations resist oppression and utilize online technology to create spaces of community. She is currently working on a monograph about digital black feminism and new media technologies. Dr. Steele also serves as the first Project Director for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded College of Arts and Humanities grant, Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture.
“I consider myself a digital black feminist, often exploring the “shades of grey” between media consumption and media critique as black female activist scholar.”

Check out Dr. Steele’s website to learn more about her work.

Black Lives Matter

Join us for the launch of the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative at American University, with a special event discussing the importance, challenges and impact of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 4-7 pm
Battelle-Tompkins Atrium

Black Lives matter event

4 -5 pm: Conversation with AU student activists involved with Black Lives Matter and AU Alumna Marita Golden

5-6pm: Talk – Erika Totten (BLM Activist in DC): “We are accountable when we are specific”

6-7pm: Talk – Marcia Chatelain (Associate Professor, History, Georgetown University – #fergusonsyllabus):

“What #BlackLivesMatter Teaches Us: Woke Pedagogies, Social Media, and the Academy”


This event is free and open to the public.

Cosponsored by the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative and the Humanities Lab.

About the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative 

The Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative (CRGC) is a vibrant and inclusive community of faculty and students that explores diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially engaged scholarship.

The collaborative houses six interdisciplinary programs that offer bachelor’s degrees, minors, and certificates:

Our courses discuss race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, culture, religion, and more from a critical perspective. We encourage our students to research complex problems and explore interdisciplinary interests.

Citizen: An American Lyric

We are delighted to welcome Claudia Rankine at American University in November 2015, for a series of events connected to her award-winning book Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014).

 71SxmbgcRuL                    Claudia Rankine

Citizen: An American Lyric is a cutting meditation on race and the crisis of citizenship in contemporary America. This November we are discussing this book in a number of linked events:

  • November 12, 2015, 7 pm: Claudia Rankine reads from her book, at the Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center. This reading is open to the public.

  • Related event:

  • November 11, 2015, 9 am to 5 pm:  Colloquium on Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. A full day of readings, critical approaches and discussions by students, faculty, and members of the community. This day of exploration of Claudia Rankine’s work is open to the public.

  • To see the schedule for this event please click here


The Humanities Lab is proud to cosponsor these events with the Creative Writing Program Visiting Writers Series, the Department of Literature and the generous support of Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Clark.
Check back here in October for the full schedule of events for the Literature Colloquium.
You can buy Citizen: An American Lyric on Amazon, or at the American University Bookstore on the AU campus.


Read more about Claudia Rankine


  • Articles and Reviews

Claudia Rankine in the New York TimesThe New York Times, “A Poetry Personal and Political: Claudia Rankine on ‘Citizen’ and Racial Politics”



Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 4.31.59 PMThe Guardian, “Poet Claudia Rankine: Racism Works Purely on Perception in America”

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 4.33.32 PMKCRW, “Claudia Rankine: The Racial Imaginary”





Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.22.55 PMThe New Yorker, “Color Codes”





Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.34.12 PMThe New York Review of Books, “A New Way of Writing About Race”






  • Other books by Claudia Rankine

Click on the titles to go to the Amazon page for each book

Don't let me be lonely

Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (Graywolf Press, 2004)


American Women Poets in the 21st Century (Wesleyan, 2002)


Plot (Grove Press, 2001)

The end of the alphabet

The End of the Alphabet (Grove Press, 1998)