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Saturday, October 31 / 9am
Sunday, November 1 / 10am
Humanities Lecture Hall (Rm. 206)
UC Santa Cruz

For almost four decades, Angela Y. Davis’s scholarship and activism has defined the meaning and practice of being a public intellectual and has radically transformed many sites of knowledge production, including the positioning of the U.S. academy as a site of intervention and social transformation. Few professors have had such a broad impact in their fields of expertise or on the world in their lifetimes. This gathering of her former students, in conversation with scholars nationally, maps the impact of her vision on issues such as democratic theory, philosophy, Marxism, cultural studies/popular culture, social policy, race, class, and feminisms. Professor Davis has also trained students as activist scholars for almost four decades in both university systems in California. We thus convene this conference to examine the poetics and politics of Professor Davis’s pedagogy in California over the past forty years (1969-2009) and to consider how her role as an activist-scholar-teacher bridges the academy/community divide and dismantles the false dichotomy of theory/praxis.

One focus of the event will be to highlight cultural production that has emerged in conversation with the writing and theorizing that Angela Davis has facilitated and inspired. We are inviting Professor Davis’ colleagues, friends, and family to provide video messages recognizing her considerable on-going contributions to academic and activist work; these will be compiled into a montage to be screened at the symposium. The event, as a whole, will be recorded, and we plan to liaise with the California Documentary Fund to translate those records into a multi-media resource for education. There will also be an evening of music and poetry in honor of Professor Davis and her contributions to cultural “legacies in the making.”


Saturday, October 31

9:00 am – Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:00 am – Panel 1: Voices of Resistance
Facilitator: Rashad Shabazz, George Washington Henderson Postdoctoral Fellow, Geography, University of Vermont.
This panel addresses themes of institutional persecution and individual and collective resistances. Institutions can include, but are not limited to, the prison industrial complex, the state, schools, the workplace, and the home, and resistances might be anything from direct action to cultural production and pedagogy.

11:30 am – Panel 2: Race, Gender, and Politics
Facilitator: J. Kehaulani Kauanui, American Studies, Anthropology, Wesleyan University.
In this panel presenters will discuss how Angela Davis’s framing of race, gender, and politics has affected their work. Papers may also address the history and legacy of Davis’s political affiliations by identifying a particular argument or theoretical approach from Davis’s texts or lectures, and by discussing how their work builds upon that approach.

2:00 pm – Panel 3: Cultural Legacies
Facilitator: Kevin Fellezs, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts, UC Merced.
Papers in this panel will connect the presenters’ work with Angela Davis’s analyses of such cultural productions as the Blues and visual representation, and the complex relationship of culture to race, gender, class, and sexuality.

3:45 pm – Panel 4: Are Prisons Obsolete?
Facilitator: Sora Han, Criminology, Law and Society, UC Irvine.
Angela Davis’s contribution to critiques of state violence and the prison industrial complex is considerable; the papers in this panel will explore how panelists have drawn on that work to inform their own related projects.

6:30 pm – Evening Events

Sunday, November 1:

10:00 am – Legacies in the Making
Facilitator: Bettina Aptheker, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz
Panelists include M. Jacqui Alexander (Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Toronto), Saidiya Hartman (English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University), Neferti X. Tadiar (Women’s Studies, Barnard College; Director, Center for Critical Analysis of Social Difference, Columbia University), and others.

12:00 pm – Closing Remarks by Angela Davis

For further information, visit or write to

Sponsored by: UCHRI, the Siegfried B. and Elisabeth Mignon Puknat Endowment, the UCSC Center for Cultural Studies, the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research, UCSC Faculty Against the War, History of Consciousness, UCSC Vice Chancellor for Research, UCSC Arts Division, UCSC Chief Diversity Office, Community Studies, Feminist Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Merrill College, Oakes College, Philosophy, Porter College, Literature, Cowell College, Languages, Politics, Psychology, and Stevenson College.

This event is free and open to the public. Staff assistance provided by the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research.


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Last modified: December 11, 2008
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