Martha Biondi, associate professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University, will speak on “The Black Revolution on Campus: Student Activism and the Transformation of Higher Education” on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m. in 904-08 Campus Center.
According to Biondi, the incorporation of black studies in American higher education was a major goal of the black student movement, but the promise to implement it was typically followed by another period of struggle. Whether it was due to hostility, clashing visions, budget cuts, indifference or other challenges, the effort to institutionalize black studies was long and difficult. To the extent that there was a “black revolution on campus,” it was followed, in many instances, by a “counterrevolution,” a determined effort to contain or trim the sails of the more ambitious desires of students and intellectuals.
Biondi’s talk will examine the tensions and conflicts surrounding the meaning and mission of black studies, a movement controversial among many both inside and outside academe for its intellectual ideas, shaped as they were by the swirling ideological currents of black nationalism.
Biondi holds the position of graduate director in one of the first African-American studies departments to grant a Ph.D. in the discipline, where her research examines the intersection of 20th century African-American history with social movements, politics, labor, gender, cities and international affairs. Her critically acclaimed “To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City” received the Meyers Outstanding Book Award and the Thomas J. Wilson Prize. Her recent publications include articles in several journals and edited collections and, in 2012, “The Black Revolution on Campus,” from which her talk is drawn.
The lecture is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute.