TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Houston A. Baker, a professor of English and African American and diaspora studies at Vanderbilt University, will present “The Black Bottom Line: Reflections on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and White Male Violence in America” Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in room 205 of Gorgas Library on The University of Alabama campus.
The lecture is part of UA’s Hidden Humanities lecture series and is free and open to the public.
“My lecture focuses on recent police violence against black bodies in the United States,” Baker said. “Such violence is a continuation of the founding—and principally white male—violence that has characterized American life for centuries.”
According to the abstract for the lecture, Baker will not only discuss Trayvon Martin’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement and white male violence in America; he will also address how the United States can become more inclusive.
“The violence of and on American streets is, as it were, mirrored by the calculated absenting of black intellectual content and faculty within university walls and curricula,” Baker said. “Blackness is zoned off in towns and cities. It is confined to uncomfortable fractions in the academy.”
One solution he offers is the in-depth study of authors such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Michelle Alexander, Ta –Nehisi Coates, Isabel Wilkerson, and others.
“Since the 1960s, there has transpired an academic internal civil war of sorts that had resulted in revised canons, more diverse student bodies, and a more fulsome representation of the currents of the humanities,” Baker said. “Much of the action has shaped itself as ‘protest’ impelled by the conviction that black lives matter.”
The Hidden Humanities lecture series was founded in 2014 to bring nationally prominent scholars and writers to UA to discuss the so-called “crisis in humanities.” The goal of the series is to challenge the widespread notion that the humanities ought to be a low priority in education.
This Hidden Humanities lecture is co-sponsored by the departments of American studies, anthropology, art and art history, English, history, philosophy, physics and astronomy, religious studies, theatre and dance, New College and the School of Music. These departments are a part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.