Though a general issue, a distinct theme or mood for this issue of The Black Scholar can be captured by the introductory essay, “Backlash Blues,” by TBS Editor-In-Chief, Louis Chude-Sokei. It is a theme of anxiety and no small amount of mourning, which is present in W.F. Santiago-Valles “Tribute to Cedric Robinson,” about someone whose passing this year was a blow for an entire cadre of scholars, activists, and critics for whom his utterly daring and original ideas about colonialism, race, capitalism, indeed racial capitalism, arguably defined much of the current generation of Black Studies.
Yet, as Santiago-Valles reminds us, Robinson’s work was geared towards a “History of the Future.” It is in that spirit of futurity that we feature a roundtable on “Race, Pornography, and Desire,” which is a truly cutting-edge conversation with a group of Black women scholars daring to engage pornography and race/racism from a Black Feminist and Queer set of positions and perhaps most dauntingly, from the ever fraught yet radically open space of pleasure.
The living history of Robinson’s future is present in Françoise N. Hamlin’s essay, “Courting The Senses: Experiential Learning and Civil Rights Movement Pedagogy.” This piece is remarkable for it’s arguing not just for the embodiment of history or the need for an embodied historical experience, but to explore just how reliving and re-experiencing material history is an essential part of teaching race and unlearning racism.
Now one might radically disagree with the notorious Rachel Dolezal’s “embodiment” of Black experiences or racial history. Marquis Bey and Theodora Sakellarides engage Dolezal’s “blackness” and work through its layers. Given that her memoir is soon to reintroduce her to the world, this essay is timely ammunition.
Anxiety and mourning, come to think of it, are ways of describing the music of the legendary Thelonious Monk. It is our great pleasure to publish, “The Monk Variations” by renowned poet, editor, and writer, Anthony Walton, author of the collection Cricket Weather, and of the Whiting Award winning memoir, Mississippi: An American Journey. Walton, like Monk, knows how to create with anxiety, how to play and survive the blues. Both he and the great pianist know also what mourning can be: a time to rebuild.
Read A Conversation with Ariane Cruz, By Kirin Wachter-Grene on our blog.