- Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, Arts Cafe
Sponsored by Creative Ventures
EMILY ABENDROTH is a poet, teacher, and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work investigates state regimes of surveillance, force, and power, as well as individual and collective resistance strategies. Her books include ]Exclosures[ from Ahsahta Press and The Instead, a collaboration with fiction writer Miranda Mellis, from Carville Annex. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna, Horse Less Press, Little Red Leaves, Albion Press, and Zumbar. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony and the Headlands Center for the Arts, and was named a 2013 Pew Fellow in Poetry. She is an active organizer with the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (a grassroots campaign working to end life without parole sentencing in Pennsylvania) and is co-founder of Address This! (an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania) and the media project LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty.
NINA JOHNSON is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Coordinator of the Program in Black Studies at Swarthmore College. Consistent with her previous study in Urban Studies (BA, Penn), African-American Studies(BA, Penn) and Culture, Communication and Criticism (MA, New York University), her research interests lie in the areas of inequality, politics, race, space, class, culture, stratification and mobility. She has recently published papers on issues of community and residential choice relative to the experience of upward mobility (A Long Way From Home: Race, Community, and Educational Opportunity) and a sociology of Black Liberation and contributed to a documentary (Turning A Corner, Beyondmedia Productions) on the legal, economic, and social barriers to exiting prostitution. She has done work on a project that looks at representations of race, class and place in mid century black novels, including the work of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Zora Neale Hurston and a community video project on the impact of Islam on black religious, social and political life in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Based on her dissertation research (PhD Sociology, Northwestern University), her book project revisits Du Bois’ and Frazier's classic works and considers issues of identity and meaning making processes among the black elite, its relationship to the larger black population, and its role in any projects of collective racial advancement. Her current research is a multi-method study of the impacts of mass incarceration at the neighborhood level, which is complimented by her teaching courses in Urban Sociology, Race and Public Policy in State Correctional Institutions in Pennsylvania. She wholeheartedly endorses every word of James Baldwin, but finds the following particularly prescient in shaping and informing her work, “The time has come, God knows, for us to examine ourselves, but we can only do this if we are willing to free ourselves of the myth of America and try to find out what is really happening here.”