Frederick Douglass Fall Symposium

2023 Symposium

Symposium poster.


September 28, 2023, 6 p.m.

NEW Location:
Memorial Art Gallery
Main Auditorium
500 University Avenue



September 29, 2023, 9-5 p.m.

Rush Rhees Library
Hawkins-Carlson Room
University of Rochester

We invite you to the 2023 Fall Symposium: Black Visual Culture | Black Visual Life, hosted by University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Institute and Department of Black Studies.

This two-day convening will prove to be informative, provocative, and profoundly creative. We invite you to attend our Artists’ Conversation Session (Memorial Art Gallery, September 28, 6 p.m.) and the Black Visual Culture | Black Visual Life Symposium (September 29, 9-5 p.m., Rush Rhees Library Hawkins Carlson Room, University of Rochester campus). On the second day, the Keynote Frederick Douglass Lecture will be delivered by phenomenal artist, Torkwase Dyson. We hope that you will join us, in-person or virtually via Livestream.

2022 Symposium

The symposium flyer.

Black Feminism Unfinished

Friday, September 23, 2022
Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester
Free and open to the public

Symposium Schedule

10 a.m.—Keynote Panel 1:

  • Erica Williams, Spelman College
  • Stefanie Dunning, Miami University-Ohio
  • Dora Silva Santana, John Jay College-CUNY

1:30 p.m.—Keynote Panel 2:

  • Tamura Lomax, Michigan State University
  • Marquis Bey, Northwestern University
  • Shoniqua Roach, Brandies University

3:30 p.m.—Frederick Douglass Lecture:

  • Sharon P. Holland, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

2021 Symposium

The event poster.

We Have Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Black Study and its Futures

September 24-25, 2021

Rush Rhees Library, Hawkins-Carlson Room
755 Library Road, Rochester, NY 14626
Free and open to the public

The symposium featured some of the top scholars in the field discussing the trajectory of Black Studies within and outside the academy. For questions call (585) 275-9161 or email

Symposium Schedule and Livestream Videos
Friday, September 24

1–3 p.m. Keynote Opening Panel—Introduction by Dean Donald Hall

  • “The Futures of Black Study” E. Patrick Johnson (Northwestern University)
  • “Flaming: The Art of Enflaming Worship” Alisha Lola Jones (Indiana University)
  • “What is Queer about Black Studies?” Marlon Bailey (Arizona State University)
  • “Where’s Africa in Black Studies: Extractive Economies & Hot Flesh” Shanti Parikh (Washington University)
  • “Towards a Re-enchantment with Black (Queer) Diaspora” Studies Rinaldo Walcott (University of Toronto)

4–5:30 p.m. “Making Sweet Tea”—Screening and Q&A with E. Patrick Johnson; Introduction by President Sarah Mangelsdorf

5:30–6:45 p.m. Inaugural Reception on Eastman Quadrangle

Saturday, September 25

10–11:30 a.m. Keynote Panel Discussion 1—Introduction by Mia Alafareit, FDI Postdoctoral Fellow

  • “Policing Blackness: How Intersectional Threat Shapes Black Politics” Jenn M. Jackson (Syracuse University)
  • “From the Window to the Wall: The Vicarious Performance of Lil’ John” Gabriel Peoples (Indiana University)
  • “Anthropology and the Salvage Slot: E-Waste, African Science, and Black Studies’ Futures” KwameOtu (University of Virginia)

1–2:30 p.m. Keynote Panel Discussion 2—Introduction by Ricardo Millhouse, FDI Postdoctoral Fellow

  • “Anticipating Blackness: Nina Simone's Feelings and the Time of Black Ontology” Julius Fleming (University of Maryland)
  • ““In All Her Glory”: What Black Trans* Elders Teach Us About the Future of Black Study” Christina Carney (University of Missouri)
  • “Looking to Bust In[to] All the Right Places: Blackness and the Sexual Geographies ofHomelessness”
    Terrance Wooten (UC-Santa Barbara)

3 p.m. Inaugural Frederick Douglass Lecture—Introduction by Dean Gloria Culver

  • “The Necessity of Black Disobedience” Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr, Director of the FDI

9:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Black Party @ Side Bar, 242 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14604