Sankofa Imperatives, Black Women, and the Archival Turn

November 8, 2021 (Monday) / 5:00 pm

401 Fisher Bennett Hall, 3340 Walnut Street

Sankofa Imperatives, Black Women, and the Archival Turn

Gabrielle Foreman

Paterno Family Professor of American Literature and Professor of African American Studies and History, Penn State University

In this talk, P. Gabrielle Foreman takes up what she calls the Sankofa imperative in Black digital and artistic spaces. Reflecting on the two major stands of her research as the founding faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project and as the research historian for a decade-long performance project to bring buried Black history to the stage, she discusses how digital archives and resurrectionary poetics stitch the ephemerality and partiality of the Black past-present into a quilt of historical recovery.

Sponsored by Penn's Price Lab for Digital Humanities, Department of Africana Studies, and Wolf Humanities Center.

P. Gabrielle Foreman is a poet's daughter and interdisciplinary scholar raised on the South Side of Chicago and Venice Beach, California. She is the founding faculty director of the award-winning Colored Conventions Project, housed in Penn State's Center for Digital Black Research/#DigBlk, a Center she co-launched and co-directs with Shirley Moody-Turner. #DigBlk is made up of a cross-institutional team of undergraduate researchers, graduate student leaders, librarians, satellite faculty, and arts and community partners that brings the buried history of early Black organizing to digital life. Gabrielle is known for her long-standing commitment to working in collectives and to institution, community, and pipeline building. She has also worked for a decade with Dr. Lynnette Overby and poet Glenis Remond on performances that bring early African American history to the stage. Foreman is author of five books and editions, which include most recently, The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century (2021), and the forthcoming Praise Songs for Dave the Potter: Art and Poetry for David Drake (2022). She is Professor of English, African American Studies, and History at Penn State where she holds the Paterno Family Chair of Liberal Arts. In 2022, she will serve as the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society where she will work on a new book on the founding families of early Black activism. That year, she’ll also serve as Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar and hopes to visit PBK chapters at HBCUs across the country.