Sunday, June 19, 2016

Quote: Robin D. G. Kelley (on Cedric Robinson)

"When Cedric [J. Robinson] submitted his dissertation for approval, the faculty did not know what to make of it. One by one, individual members resigned from his committee citing an inability to understand the work. No one could reasonably reject a thesis so sound, elegant, and erudite, but few were willing to sign off. Only after Cedric threatened legal action was his thesis finally accepted—nearly four years later. Finding a publisher proved equally frustrating. When SUNY Press finally released the book, now titled The Terms of Order: Political Science and the Myth of Leadership in 1980, it was thoroughly ignored and soon disappeared. (Fortunately, the University of North Carolina Press brought it back into print with a brilliant foreword by Erica Edwards, giving the book a new life and the attention it deserved thirty-five years ago.)"

"As they awaited Stanford’s decision, Cedric accepted a position as Lecturer in Political Science and Black Studies at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1973. His appointment was partly the product of student struggles waged by the Black Action Movement the previous year. Cedric and Elizabeth joined a community of radical and progressive blackmarxismintellectuals, including Harold Cruse, anthropologist Mick Taussig, Africanist historian Joel Samoff, cultural critic Marshall Sahlins, and Archie Singham, noted scholar of Caribbean and African politics. Elizabeth returned to school, earning an M.A. in Anthropology from U of M. Together they devoted much of their energy to the graduate students, hosting regular seminars and workshops in their home, feeding and nurturing a generation who would reshape Black Studies. Darryl Thomas, then a first-year grad student in Political Science, found these gatherings invaluable: “That community remained a source of strength and survival long after the Robinsons’ departure from the university in 1973. The workshop exemplified how to pursue the type of interdisciplinary research and scholarship originally imagined by the students and faculty members who led the insurrections that created Black studies."
-- Robin D. G. Kelley, "Cedric J. Robinson: the Making of a Black Radical Intellectual," Counterpunch, June 17, 2016.

(Cedric J. Robinson (b. 1940), one of the towering figures in the development of Black Studies, died on June 5, 2016.)

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