Keynotes

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 6pm
Music Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an award-winning author on race and inequality as well as Black politics and social movements in the United States. Her books include From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective. Her new book, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press. Taylor’s writing has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesBoston ReviewParis Review, Guardian, The Nation, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black PoliticsCulture and Society, Jacobin, and beyond. In 2016, she was designated as one that one hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by the The Root. Taylor is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University.

 

Amitav Ghosh
Thursday, February 27, 2020, 6pm
Music Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of numerous books, including The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Hungry Tide, and The Ibis Trilogy, consisting of Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire. His most recent book, The Great Derangement; Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a work of non-fiction, appeared in 2016. The recipient of numerous awards—including France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Arthur C. Clarke award, the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary honor, and the Utah Award for the Environmental Humanities—Ghosh’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. His most recent publication is Gun Island, a novel.

 

Nick Estes and Melanie K. Yazzie
Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 6pm
UC Santa Cruz (venue TBA)

Nick Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. He is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation, an Indigenous resistance organization. For 2017-2018, Estes was the American Democracy Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. His research engages colonialism and global Indigenous histories, with a focus on decolonization, oral history, U.S. imperialism, environmental justice, anti-capitalism, and the Oceti Sakowin. Estes is the author of the book Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (Verso, 2019), which places into historical context the Indigenous-led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. He edited with Jaskiran Dhillon the volume Standing with Standing Rock: Voices from the #NoDAPL Movement (University of Minnesota, 2019), which draws together more than thirty contributors, including leaders, scholars, and activists of the Standing Rock movement.

Melanie K. Yazzie (Bilagáana/Diné) holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, and is is Assistant Professor in the Department of Native American Studies and the Department of American Studies, University of New Mexico. She specializes in violence, biopolitics, water, Navajo/American Indian history; (neo)liberalism; settler colonialism; Indigenous feminisms; Native American studies; social movements; urban Native experience; political ecology; queer Indigenous studies; Marxist theories of history, knowledge, and power; and theories of policing and the state. Her first book, Life in The Age of Extraction: Diné History in A Biopolitical Register, shows how biopolitical calculations of Navajo life that accompanied the introduction of extractive economies in the 1930s have become a full-scale biopolitical epoch defined by violent relations of extraction. With Nick Estes, she guest-edited a special issue of Wicazo Sa Review (June 2016) on the legacy of Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, one of the founders of Native American studies, and co-edited a special issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society with Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous water politics (2018).

 

Nitasha Dhillon and Amin Husain, of MTL / Decolonize This Place
Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 6pm
UC Santa Cruz (venue TBA)

Natasha Dhillon and Amin Husain, are MTL, a collaboration that joins research, aesthetics, organizing and action in practice. Nitasha Dhillon and Amin Husain are co-founders of Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy, the movement-generated theory magazine; Global Ultra Luxury Faction, known as the direct action wing of Gulf Labor Coalition; Direct Action Front for Palestine; and, most recently, Decolonize This Place. MTL has published in Alternet, Creative Time Reports, eflux, Hyperallergic, Jadaliyya, and October Magazine. Currently they are directing and producing an experimental documentary film about land, life and liberation in occupied Palestine titled, On This Land.

 

Moor Mother and Las Sucias
May 15, 2020, 7:30PM
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz

Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) is a nationally- and internationally-touring musician, poet, visual artist, and workshop facilitator, and has performed at numerous festivals, colleges, galleries, and museums around the world, sharing the stage with King Britt, Roscoe Mitchell, Claudia Rankine, bell hooks, and more. Her most recent album, Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, is the culmination of all of her earthly experiences merged with all of her cosmic ones. On Analog Fluids, haunting slave narratives are presented as dystopian allegory and negro spirituals are flipped, remixed, and recaptured, only to be digitized into a symbiotic bio-morph program for the post-thumb drive age. It’s a record rich with the noise and chaos that affirm Moor Mother’s punk roots, yet it is also anchored in earthiness via the constant injection of Black ritual, poetry, and drums programmed to vibrate through the listener’s mitochondria.

Las Sucias is a duo formed by Danishta Rivero and Alexandra Buschman, mixing anti-patriarchal riotgrrrl lyrics, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, brujería noise and possessed vocals. Each performance is a ritual that combines all of the senses and elevates into a higher realm, inspiring the listener to dance, speak in tongues, laugh hysterically, and get possessed by the spirits awoken.