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Cherise Smith, Ph.D, Director JES A232A, Mailcode D7200, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1784

Diaspora Talk Series: The Obamas and the New Politics of Race - “Things Behind the Sun: Obama and the Politics of Good Times”

Thu, March 25, 2010 • 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM • ISES Gallery (JES A230) - Warfield Center for African and African American Studies

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Richard Iton, Associate Professor of African American Studies - Northwestern University

Diaspora Talk Series

The Obamas and the New Politics of Race

“Things Behind the Sun: Obama and the Politics of Good Times”

Richard Iton, Associate Professor of African American Studies - Northwestern University

March 25, 2010

3:00pm

ISESE Gallery (JES A230)/Warfield Center fro African and African American Studies

Things Behind the Sun: Obama and the Politics of Good Times
 
Description: It has been suggested in many quarters that the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America might figure the end of black politics. According to this logic, the election of a president who happens to be black should make black political mobilization and organization superfluous and unnecessary. Moreover, this narrative assumes that the election of a black president has long been the desired end—the primary goal—of American blacks.
 
Against this backdrop, the Obama election provides an opportunity to think through the relationship between a politics of fulfilment and a politics of transfiguration—to borrow from Paul Gilroy. Moreover, this development allows us to reconsider the possibility of a black politics of pleasure (distinct from a superficial triumphalism); the status of the politics of deferral that have long characterized black practice; and the intensity of the sublative urge—the desire to deny or abandon certain political possibilities and spaces—within contemporary politics.  
 
Biography: Richard Iton received his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University in Political Science in 1994 and has taught at the University of Toronto and Northwestern University. He is the author of Solidarity Blues: Race, Culture, and the American Left (University of North Carolina Press 2000) which was awarded Best Book of 2000 on the Social, Cultural, and Ideological Construction of Race by the Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, and a 2001 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center. His second book, In Search of the Black Fantastic: Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era (Oxford University Press 2008), was recently listed as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2008 (Choice Reviews) and was co-recipient of the 2009 Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association. He is currently working on a project considering the nature and possibility of a black politics of pleasure (tentatively entitled 89/90: The End of Politics and the State of Play).

Sponsored by: The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies


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