Past Events

Download as iCal file


The Black Atlantic in the Age of Black Lives Matter

Friday, November 20, 2020 - 11:30am - 01:00pm

Paul Gilroy’s landmark The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness has provided important intellectual paradigms as well as new sites for considering the very nature and location of “British” studies. It has also productively prompted scholars in diverse fields to reckon with its limits, encouraging many kinds of Black Atlantic, transoceanic, and transnational approaches to the study of diasporic Black cultures and cultural alliances. Our goal is to consider what intellectual and political work might we yet accomplish by thinking with—but also against or aslant of—aspects of Gilroy’s formulation and the discussions it provoked. We feel the urgency of reflecting on Black Atlantic studies at a time when the recent uprising for racial and reparative justice in the US has invigorated solidarity among people from many parts of the Black Atlantic world. This two-part symposium (pre-recorded presentations and live conversation about them) invites participants to put Black Atlantic theory and practice into conversation with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

*Please register in advance to watch the pre-recorded presentation and receive the invitation to the live discussion:


Nathalie Batraville

Title of Presentation: “Atlantic Refusals: Kinship and Belonging Beyond Transnationalism in Dionne Brand’s Land to Light On” 

Paul Gilroy offers the Black Atlantic as a “single, complex unity of analysis” that produces “an explicitly transnational and intercultural perspective” on Black culture and identity. In this talk, I reflect on Black and Indigenous solidarities on Turtle Island and the possibilities and limitations embedded in Gilroy’s work. I theorize alternative grammars of refusal grounded in liberatory and decolonial disruptions of space and place. Reading the poetry of Dionne Brand, I reflect on the ways Black and Indigenous queer being under settler colonialism comes to articulate forms of political existence that reconfigure belonging beyond sovereignty and transnationalism, and beyond the Atlantic. 

To learn more about Nathalie Batraville: 

Twitter: @natbatraville

Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Title of Presentation: “The Black Pacific: Black Cultural Politics on the Margins” 

This presentation examines Gilroy’s outlining of the Black Atlantic, and in particular the political repercussions of the circulation of Black cultural and musical texts within it, from the vantage point of a diasporic outpost on its margins: the Pacific coast of Colombia. I will suggest that the Black Colombian case both shows the ongoing validity of Gilroy’s framework and exposes the contradictions and lacunae of the Black Atlantic formulation — both with ramifications for Black cultural politics globally.

To learn more about Michael Birenbaum Quintero:

Christopher Freeburg

Title of Presentation: “Phillis Wheatley’s Passages” 

This presentation addresses how Phillis Wheatley is a crucial figure for the origins of Black culture in the Black Atlantic. It explains why resituating her politically is vital to contemporary anti-racist discourse.  

To learn more about Christopher Freeburg:


 Pre-Recorded Videos

*Please watch each recording in advance of our Zoom event.

Nathalie Batraville


Michael Birenbaum Quintero


Christopher Freeburg