Tulane Africana Studies Program launching Black Studies Book Club with noted author Rinaldo Walcott

The Africana Studies Program of the Tulane University School of Liberal Arts is kicking off its new Black Studies Book Club series this week with author Rinaldo Walcott serving as the program’s inaugural scholar.

Walcott will speak about his book The Long Emancipation: Moving Toward Black Freedom (Duke University Press) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, in Stone Auditorium at the Woldenberg Art Center. Those interested in discussing the book in more detail are invited to the book club meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct 21.

Both programs are free and open to the public, though pre-registration is required for the Thursday session. Those signing up for the book club can reserve a free copy of Walcott’s book at africana@tulane.edu.

"We plan to bring in one scholar per semester, making sure that, across the series, we invite a diverse array of scholars whose work focuses on Africa and its global diasporas and whose work is more theoretical."

Mia L. Bagneris, director of the Tulane Africana Studies Program

“Our plans are to bring in a scholar (once per semester) whose recent publication has shifted the conversation in Africana Studies to deliver a public lecture and to facilitate a more intimate, book club-style conversation,” said Mia L. Bagneris, director of the Africana Studies Program.

This “book club” style conversation aims to bring together diverse constituencies of the Africana Studies Program, including Tulane students, faculty and staff and local community members as well as students and faculty from New Orleans Math & Science Charter High School, the program’s high school partner.  Participants are urged to come prepared to discuss the book, having read some portion of it and/or studied it in one of their courses.

The series is part of a larger initiative called “Building an Intergenerational Black Studies Scholarly Community at Tulane and Beyond,” funded as a three-year pilot program by a recent EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Initiative Committee award. Through partnerships with high schools and historically black colleges and universities, the initiative aims to position Tulane as the hub for Black Studies in New Orleans.

Walcott is a professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora and Black Studies and co-author of BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom.

In The Long Emancipation, Walcott posits that Black people globally live in the time of emancipation and that emancipation does not mean freedom. Taking examples from across the globe, he argues that wherever Black people have been emancipated from slavery and colonization, a potential freedom has been thwarted. Walcott names this condition the long emancipation—the ongoing interdiction of potential Black freedom.