Professor Elijah Anderson on Walking While Black

Elijah Anderson
ACT at MIT

This fall, ACT is co-sponsoring a lecture series as part of MAS.S63 | Black Mobility and Safety in the US I, a new course taught by Ekene Ijeoma, Director of the Poetic Justice Group at the MIT Media Lab.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, beginning at 2pm, Professor Elijah Anderson will join the class, and will be responding to the prompt of Walking While Black.

Professor Elijah Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University. He is one of the leading urban ethnographers in the United States. His research interests include urban inequality, cultural sociology, social deviance, race relations and theory. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology; and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). Anderson’s most recent ethnographic work, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, was published by WW Norton in 2011. A major theme of his ethnographic essay, “The White Space” (2015) is that, “While white people typically avoid black space, Black people must navigate white space as a condition of their existence.”

In this seminar and studio, Ijeoma will guide students to listen, learn, reflect and respond to issues around mobility (physical, mental, socio-economical, political, etc) and safety for Black Americans through words, images, and sounds that reference social science and anti-racist research. Weekly meetings will be organized around public lectures from guests ranging from designers and urban planners to activists and social scientists, and private individual presentations for the group.

Part of a two-semester course, Black Mobility and Safety in the US is organized into two-week topics around living while Black. The first semester (Fall 2020) will include: birthing, breathing, sleeping, eating, and walking; the second: learning, voting, driving, working, and loving. By the end of each semester, students will have the resources and tools to actively listen and respond critically to issues of Black mobility in the context of their own fields and their purposes.

Register for the lecture.

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