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Thank You!

So my time teaching at The New School has come to a close. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. This post is to thank some of the people who have made it so special and to recall some of the moments we shared on the two courses I taught, Race and Resistance (Eugene Lang College) and Race Critical and Decolonize Sociology (New School for Social Research).

The poster for the series of lectures on race and racism we organized.

First, I would like to thank the members of the NSSR sociology department for agreeing to host me as Hans Speier Visiting Professor, especially Benoit Challand and Jeff Goldfarb. I would also like to thanks Robyn Wagner-Pacifici for making me feel so welcome and Andrew Arato for coming and engaging with my talk.
The department supported to organize a mini series of talks on race and racism, as did the Zolberg Insitute on Migration and Mobility. We held three talks by Yassir Morsi, Stefanie Boulila and myself. Yassir Morsi spoke about his upcoming book, the first to appear in the Challenging Migration book series I coedit with Gavan Titley at Rowman & Littlefield International, Radical Skin, Moderate Masks. Miriam Ticktin and Jeff Goldfarb introduced the event, and Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming gave an extremely eloquent response. I would like to thank them for making the event such a special one.

I would also like to thank my tireless teaching assistant, Emmanuel Guerisoli for organizing the seminars and to Nuri Can Akin for helping with practical arrangements. I would also like to thank Ahad for shooting this video of the event.

Stefanie Boulila presenting at NSSR

Stefanie Boulila presented her work on ‘Intersectionality and the Postracial: A European perspective’ at the department on May 2 at a really well-attended event followed by an interesting discussion.

My talk on April 24 addressed the question of conducting research on race from a relational perspective. Thanks to my being in New York, I was also honored to have been invited to present the paper at the Department of Sociology at York University in Toronto by Christopher Kyriakides. I was particularly grateful to have had the opportunity during this visit to also have a workshop with the amazing graduate students there. Thanks to Sonia D’Angelo for organizing this and for developing such interesting discussion points.

By far the most gratifying experience during the semester was the teaching, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. First, my enormous thanks to Emmanuel Guerisoli; it was my first experience of having a teaching assistant and what a luxury that is! He was an amazing help as well as a fabulous intellectual interlocutor.

Race & Resistance at the Museum of the American Indian (under extremely problematic murals of Christopher Columbus!!)

Quasheba El lecturing on Food Justice

My undergraduate course for the Eugene Lang College students was so much fun. We did so much, including a visit to the African Burial Memorial Ground and the Museum of the American Indian. We also had fantastic guest lectures from Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying on his work challenging police brutality and surveillance in Los Angeles, Iman Boukadoum of the Interfaith Centre speaking about her work on anti-deportations with marginalized migrant Muslim communities in NYC. We also had a wonderful Skype seminar with Ash Sarkar of Novara Media talking to us about the effects of Brexit on race in the UK, a seminar with Yassir Morsi on Islamophobia and one with Quasheba El on Food Justice. Her resource list can be accessed here.

Students on this course engaged with topic so deeply and creatively. I was especially gratified to have students from so many different backgrounds, including dance and design alongside the social scientists. For their final projects, students had to develop an antiracism toolkit and they came up with so many creative ideas, including a website for tracking and reporting racism against Black women by the TSA, an art show for Black children called ‘On Being Included’, a curriculum on Blackness and Indigeneity, and a Black literature curriculum for school students. Here are a few of their final presentations on the projects.

The poster for Anna and Althea’s project, On Being Included was especially evocative and included original art work by Althea Bennett.

My graduate course, Race Critical & Decolonial Sociology was a challenging teaching experience for me, as I set the task of reading a new book every week. I wrote a blog almost every week, which I have been sharing here. I would like to thank Satnam Virdee for sending me two copies of his book, Race, Class and the Racialized Outsider which we read in class. Big thanks to Ronit Lentin, who came to discuss settler colonialism and her work on ‘Palestine/Israel and state criminality‘. I would also like to thank Mia C. White who agreed at short notice to come and share her thoughts on the the postracial with the class during our final session. Students on this class did some fantastic work fro their final papers and I would like to thank them all for their enthusiasm throughout the semester.

During my time in New York, I have had the chance to experience many interesting talks and events including those by Neil Roberts on his work on marronage, and by Dorothy Roberts on the twentieth anniversary and republication of Killing the Black Body.


I attended the amazing salon held for Christina Sharpe’s wondrous book, In the Wake at Barnard College

Salon for Christina Sharpe

One of the most amazing events I attended was ‘Genres of Speculation‘, a daylong symposium for public high school debaters with leading scholars in the fields of critical Black studies, education, english, and international economics. The level of engagement of these young participants with the level of content from theorists such as Christina Sharpe, Donna Jones and Tavia Nyong’o among others was absolutely amazing!

Christina Sharpe at Genres of Speculation

I could go on, but I won’t. I have been beyond privileged. Thank you all! And I even got my own coffee named after me in the inimitable Tug Boat Tea Company in the best neighborhood, Lefferts Gardens!


Alana Lentin