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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

The Sawyer Seminar: Natives and Nativists, Migrants and Immigrants in an American City

Saya Woolfalk - Sawyer Floral Design 2 RESIZED
Black Citizenship: A Sawyer Seminar Series Event | March 8, 2023

This seminar, held on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at Express Newark on the Rutgers-Newark campus explored the relationship between Black communities, both native-born and immigrant, and the question of American citizenship. It explored this relationship in various contexts: through political ideologies, religious communities, and shared cultural heritage. 

Sawyer Seminar Black Citizenship

(10:00-10:15 am) Welcome Address by Dean Jacqueline Mattis

(10:15-11:45 am) A Conversation between Salamishah Tillet and Claudia Rankine
Salamishah Tillet, Henry Rutgers Professor, Africana Studies and Creative Writing, Rutgers University, Newark
Claudia Rankine, Professor, Creative Writing Program, New York University

Watch the welcome address by Dean Jacqueline Mattis and the conversation between Salamishah Tillet and Claudia Rankine on-demand at the following link

(12:00-1:00 pm) Things We Do in the Dark: Cinematic Experiments in Kinship Tour
Paul Robeson Galleries, Express Newark, Third Floor
Led by Yvonne Shirley, Express Newark Community Media Center Director, and Farrah Rahaman, exhibit curator

(1:00-2:30 pm) Black Citizenship
Kimberley Johnson, Professor, Social & Cultural Analysis, New York University
Niambi Carter, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park
Yarimar Bonilla, Professor, Anthropology, Graduate Center City University of New York
Reuel Rogers, Associate Professor, Political Science, Northwestern University
Moderator: Hyacinth Miller, Assistant Teaching Professor, Africana Studies and Political Science, Rutgers University, Newark

(3:00-4:30 pm) Black Citizenship and Religion
John Jackson, Professor and Dean, University of Pennsylvania
Zain Abdullah, Associate Professor, Religion, Temple University
Todne Thomas, Associate Professor, African American Religious Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Carlos Decena, Profesor, Latino and Caribbean Studies and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Moderator: Wendell Marsh, Assistant Professor, Africana Studies, Rutgers University, Newark

Watch the Black Citizenship and Black Citizenship and Religion panels on-demand at the following link

Past Events in this Series

  • Sawyer Migration, Displacement and the Arts.


    The Sawyer Seminar Series at Rutgers University-Newark presented Migration, Displacement, and the Arts on November 16, 2022. The event was co-organized by Mayte Green-Mercado, Associate Professor of History and Campus Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice in Newark, Kim DaCosta Holton, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, and Tim Raphael, Professor of Arts, Culture, and Media.

    As a launching first co-sponsored event for the (Dis)locations: Migration, Displacement, and Racial Justice Project, the event brought together scholars and performers to examine the intersections between migration and the arts to consider questions about the role of music, dance, and performance in articulating displaced identities in urban migrations.

    Scholarship on migration and displacement focuses mostly on the conditions that force people to leave their places of origin or the challenges that people face during their departure or arrival. In this sense, academic research on migration tends to reproduce particular frameworks shared across the disciplines of demography, sociology, political science, economics, and history. Relatively absent from these discussions are artistic expressions. The event also considered how aesthetic vocabularies are maintained and repurposed in adopted homelands, and how expressive culture impacts processes and perceptions of belonging and alienation in both origin and host contexts.


    Sawyer Seminar Displacement and the Arts
    Photo credit: LalearCreative