Rhodes Professors to Present at Association for the Study of African American Life and History Conference

a closeup of a tie tucked into a suit jacket with a name tag that says "Speaker" hanging from the collar

Professors Charles McKinney and Robert Saxe will present their research at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH ) Conference in Richmond, VA, Oct. 5-9. Founded by leading intellectual Carter G. Woodson in 1915, the ASALH pioneered historical investigation of African Americans across the United States. This year the 101st conference of the ASALH draws scholars in Africana Studies from across the globe. The conference theme for 2016 is “Hallowed Ground: Sites of American Memories,” both physical and metaphorical.  

McKinney will chair a panel, “Contentious Blackness: Rethinking Resistance, Culture and Literature,” that interrogates, complicates, and redefines the workings of African American memory and history. On this panel, Dr. Siobahn Carter-David will reflect on the impact of the Nation of Gods and Earth, better known as the Five Per Cent Nation, and its impact on urban public culture. Saxe will complete the panel with his paper, “Violence, Orgasm, and Psychopathy: Norman Mailer Explains the African-American Experience.” Saxe will examine Mailer’s controversial exploration of black life and culture in the middle of the last century. Saxe will open up a critical space to explore – and explode – both Mailer’s view of black life and the larger cultural forces within American society that animated his views.

The ASALH Conference also will screen the documentary film, “Remember Fort Pillow,” produced by a team of Rhodes students with Professor Dee Garceau. “Fort Pillow” explores a racial atrocity that took place during the Civil War, and how the massacre has been silenced in public memory. In a course taught by Garceau for the History Department, Rhodes students uncovered this incident using records from a Congressional investigation, correspondence from the U.S. War Department, and firsthand testimony from survivors. Students then crafted the film based on archival evidence. The film offers a more trenchant critique of the incident than that currently provided by interpretive center at Fort Pillow State Park.

For further information on the ASALH Conference, visit here.