UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Michele Reid-Vazquez, associate professor of Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh, will deliver a lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in 162 Willard Building. This event is free and open to the public.
Reid-Vazquez's lecture is titled “Countering Disposability: Black Mobility and Resistance in the Age of Revolution." From the onset of the Haitian Revolution to the closing of the Latin American wars for independence in the early 19th century, men and women of African heritage laid claim to the insurgent ideologies of liberty and equality — ideas that were not meant to apply to them. Black soldiers, refugees, and migrants used geopolitical warfare in the Caribbean basin to craft counter-discourses of freedom and citizenship. This turbulent space also fostered new assemblages of mobility that linked multiple geographies in the quest for racial equality. During her lecture Reid-Vazquez will address how people of African descent envisioned and demanded an alternative reality to enslavement and colonialism by engaging in these modes of resistance.
Reid-Vazquez’ research and teaching focuses on the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America, and Afro-Latinos in the United States. She is the author of “The Year of the Lash: Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World” (2011) and is completing her second monograph, “Black Mobilities in the Age of Revolution: Comparative Politics, Migration, and Freedom in the Caribbean.” Her current project, "El Caribe in the Rust Belt," examines issues of race, gender, culture, and identity among Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.
Reid-Vazquez’ visit is part of the Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance Sawyer Seminar Series sponsored by the Penn State Department of African American Studies. The seminar seeks to identify and examine ways that marginalized racial subjects in the Americas disrupt the logic of disposability creatively, politically, and intellectually using practices of organized resistance and an everyday politics of refusal. It is funded through a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Reid-Vazquez' presentation is co-sponsored by the Africana Research Center and the Department of French and Francophone Studies.