Kritikos engages topics such as writing about the arts, critical studies, translation, the artist in society, and art as speech.
Dear Members of the CVPA Community:
Inspired by mass actions and worldwide protests demanding racial justice, CVPA’s Arts in Context will continue the Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group this summer, moderated by Mason faculty members Jessica Kallista and Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, with help from co-organizers, Aishah-Nyeta Brown, Natalie Ledesma, Jordan McRae, Sang Nam, and Aries Wilson.
Members of the CVPA community will meet in Summer 2021 for a 90-minute session once a week, but with a goal of long-term commitment to relationship building, awareness, reimagining, transformation, and action, around anti-racist practices, racial justice, and the creation of conversations as well as systems of compassion and healing. We will continue to focus on anti-Black racism and its effects on society.
Grounded in the knowledge that it is not a question of whether we are racist, but rather, how racism is expressed and experienced in ourselves, our lives, our behaviors, and our institutions, we will explore books, music, art, essays, podcasts, and documentaries that allow us to critically question and consider our roles as artists, thinkers, citizens, and creatives in a society founded on racist values and practices.
Jessica and Kristin
Fall 2021: Fridays, 1-2:30 pm, October 1- November 12
Week 1: October 1, 2021— Abolish Police & Prisons: Prison Labor
Prison Labor: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - video
Week 2: October 8, 2021— The Role of Racism in the War on Drugs
Jay Z: 'The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail' by Jay-Z, Molly Crabapple, Jim Batt, Kim Boekbinder and Dream Hampton (video)
The War on Drugs is a Lie | Decoded (Season 8) - video
Week 3: October 15, 2021— Racism in Sports
Week 4: October 22, 2021— Voter Suppression
Week 5: October 29, 2021— Black and Indigenous Peoples Solidarity against White Supremacy
Week 6: November 5, 2021— Racism & Student Loan Debt
America’s Student Debt Crisis: Marvin's Story | Consumer Reports (video)
Week 7: November 12, 2021— Black Joy & Self-Compassion: Setting Boundaries
A Day of Self Love (video)
How to Unplug, Set Boundaries, and Practice Self-Care During Tumultuous Times. Here’s how to unplug, unwind, set boundaries, and stay healthy as we fight systemic racism and police brutality. by Taneasha White
I Refuse to Listen to White Women Cry’ - Activist Rachel Cargle has built a brand — and a business — by calling out racial injustices within feminism
The 1619 Project - The New York Times or view here: https://pulitzercenter.org/sites/default/files/full_issue_of_the_1619_project.pdf
The Racist Origins of U.S. Law (video)
U.S. History: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO (video)
Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ghosts of Segregation Vestiges of racism and oppression, from bricked-over segregated entrances to the forgotten sites of racial violence, still permeate much of America’s built environment.
Color Blind Racism (video)
White People Unnecessarily Calling the Cops on Black People | The Daily Show (video)
Racism in Academia (3:55) (video)
An Essay for Teachers Who Understand Racism Is Real by Bettina Love
Emotional Intelligence, racial stereotypes, & the politics of emotional expression | Khadija Mbowe (video)
In our Kritikos Anti-Racist Reading Group we call upon and discuss the work of innumerable Black scholars, authors, activists, artists, musicians, poets, dancers, and playwrights to guide our discussions. Here are just a few of them:
Learn More About the People Above From Our Summer 2021 Session
Rachel Cargle is an activist, academic, writer, and lecturer. In her academic and professional work, Rachel Cargle explores the intersection of race and womanhood––challenging the interlocking systems of oppression through intellectual discourses and educational tools and resources. For KARRG, we turn to Rachel Cargle’s work to examine how white women should divorce themselves from white supremacy to become accomplices to BIPOC individuals.
Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, an avid journalist, and the creator of the 1619 Project. In the 1619 Project and her other works, Nikole Hannah-Jones moves the reader to confront America’s national hypocrisy and ignored truths regarding systemic racism. For KARRG, Nikole Hannah-Jones and the 1619 Project lay the groundwork in our discussions for exploring a history of system racism in America.
Titus Kaphar is an American painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and installation artist, and the recipient of awards such as the 2018 MacArthur Fellowship and the 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant. In his works, Titus Kaphar investigates contemporary themes and significance in artworks and artforms of the past. For KARRG, we watch Titus Kaphar’s 2017 TED Talk—“Can Art Amend History?”— in which Titus Kaphar whitewashes one of his paintings to shift the viewers’ gaze from an affluent white family to a young brown servant child.
Audre Lorde was a Black writer, feminist, and activist who devoted her life and her work to exploring issues of civil rights, racism, feminism, lesbianism, and the Black female identity. In her activism and published works, Audre Lorde centers the importance of liberation for oppressed and marginalized populations, and organizing individuals across differences of race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. In KARRG, we constantly affirm Audre Lorde’s words: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
Learn More About the People Above From Past Sessions:
bell hooks is an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. Having written over 40 books, she is also known for coining the phrase "imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" to describe the many interlocking systems of oppression active in U.S. society and culture. For KARRG we turn to this phrase in nearly every session often expanding on it as "imperialist white supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy."
Dr. Bettina Love is the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia and a pioneer for educating communities on race, education and educators, abolition, and Black joy. She is an award-winning author and co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network, whose mission is to develop and support teachers and parents to fight injustice within their schools and communities.
The Black feminist, Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a native New Yorker and daughter of immigrants. Both her activism and her published work speak to the importance of struggle for liberation among oppressed peoples and of organizing in coalition across differences of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, age and ability.
Learn More About the People Above From Past Sessions:
Ingrid Masondo is a South African photography artist who has worked independently on extensive personal projects, particularly focusing on the body, its habits and practices, and markings and performances. Masondo is an arts, music, and cultural worker, who currently works as the curator of Photography and New Media at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
An award winning and multi-platinum American hip hop artist, Cardi B is also a feminist, political activist, philanthropist, and actor. Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, she continues to break records through her work and make history through the accolades she receives.
La Tanya Autry is a cultural organizer in the visual arts who centers social justice and public memory in her work. In 2017, she co-founded the global advocacy initiative "MUSEUMS ARE NOT NEUTRAL" with Mike Murawski. The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America is her dissertation that analyzes how individuals and communities memorialize white supremacy models, such as lynching violence in the built environment, concentrates on the interplay of race, representation, memory, and public space.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Megan Thee Stallion is a feminist and an award-winning American hip hop artist. Her work embraces female sensuality and confidence, centers female desire and pleasure, and defies stereotypes.
Learn More About the People Above From Past Sessions:
Dr. Susan Moore was a Michigan-based family medicine physician who died December 20, 2020 of complications from COVID-19. Dr. Susan Moore died just weeks after posting a video online from her hospital bed accusing a white doctor of denying her requests for pain medication and proper treatment because she was Black.
Kadir Nelson is a Los Angeles-based painter, illustrator, and author whose work is centered on African American culture and history. His work is best known for being featured on the covers of The New Yorker magazine as well as the album covers of Drake and Michael Jackson.
Lorna Simpson is an African American photographer and multimedia artist who challenges conventional ideas about race, women, and culture. She was awarded the J. Paul Getty Medal in 2019.
Doreen Garner is an American sculptor and performance artist whose work explores the frequent suppressed and traumatic medical histories of the Black body.
Learn More About the People Above From Past Sessions:
Alice Sheppard is a disabled choreographer and dancer from Britain as well as a sought-out speaker engaging on topics related to disability, arts, race and dance. She first began her career as a professor and after watching disabled dancer Homer Avila, she was challenged to take a dancing class and immediately fell in love, and later made her debut with the Infinity Dance Theatre.
Paulo Freire was a renowned Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate on critical pedagogy. Pedagogy of the Oppressed is Freire's most influential work and leads us in this approach on how we can read the society around us.
Marsha P. Johnson was a fearless and bold African American transgender woman who fought for LGBTQ rights and was an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. Despite her struggle with mental illness and often being homeless, she made her way as a drag queen and served as a "drag mother" for homeless and struggling LGBTQ youth.
Spring 2021 Reading Lists
February 19: Race & Medicine
“This Is How Black People Get Killed”: Dr. Susan Moore Dies of COVID After Decrying Racist Care (Democracy Now video): (6:07)
Say her name: Dr. Susan Moore (Washington Post article):
The Tuskegee Study (video) 3:01)
The US medical system is still haunted by slavery (Vox Pro Publica video) (8:49)
Beyond Tuskegee — Vaccine Distrust and Everyday Racism (New England Journal of Medicine)
Meet the Black female scientist at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine development (CBS article and video) (6:25)
Ted Talk: The problem with race-based medicine | Dorothy Roberts (video) (14:36)
Early Data Shows Striking Racial Disparities In Who's Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine (NPR 5-Minute Listen)
Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine (Painting by Kadir Nelson)
Doreen Garner Sculpts Our Trauma | Art21 "New York Close Up" (video) (7:38)
February 26—Dismantling the White Gaze Materials
Facing Difference: The Black Female Body by bell hooks ( PDF from Art on My Mind, pp. 94-100)
The Politics of Radical Black Subjectivity by bell hooks (from Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, Chapter 2, pp. 15-22)
Nine Black Artists and Cultural Leaders on Seeing and Being Seen: Amy Sherald, Michael R. Jackson and others discuss the challenges and opportunities of cultivating black audiences and dismantling historically white institution.
White Savior: The Movie Trailer (Late Night with Seth Meyers video) (5:51)
March 5: Cultural Appropriation
What is Cultural Appropriation? by Ijeoma Oluo (Chapter 10 from So You Want to Talk About Race)
Watch This Documentary on Braids and Appropriation in America | ELLE (20 minute video)
We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs by LAUREN MICHELE JACKSON
What is Cultural Appropriation? (Video)
7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! | Decoded | MTV News
March 12: Museums Are Not Neutral
The Problem with Museums (Video)
March 19: The Black Horizon: Black Womxn, Sex & Power
Constructing Radical Black Female Subjectivities: Survival Pimping in Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe by Jennifer Thorington Springer (PDF 23 pages)
Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexualtiy in the Cultural Marketplace by bell hooks (PDF Chapter 4 from Black Looks pp. 61-77)
WAP: the summer smash hit that exposed the fear of sexually liberated black women by Michell Chresfield
Against the Grain: Black Women and Sexuality by Desiree Lewis 9 (PDF 24 pages)
Zanele Muholi – ‘In My World, Every Human is Beautiful’ | Tate (video)
March 26, 2021—Racism & Travel
What Was It Like to Travel While Black During Jim Crow? | 360 Video | Op-Docs (20:08)
The real story of the Green Book (Video 4:16)
2020 Is the Summer of the Road Trip. Unless You’re Black, by Tariro Mzezewa
Freedom Riders (Video 1:52:28)
Evita Robinson: Reclaiming the globe (Video 6:37)
April 9: Radical Self-Care & Loving Blackness
We need more 'trauma-free Blackness.' Here's a start, by John Blake (CNN article)
Loving Blackness as Political Resistance by bell hooks (Chapter 1 from Black Looks pp. 9-20)
RADICAL SELF CARE: NONA HENDRYX (Video)
RADICAL SELF CARE: TERENCE NANCE (Video)
Nina Simone: That Blackness (Video)
Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, WizKid - BROWN SKIN GIRL (Official Video)
Fall 2020 Reading Lists
Week 1: October 2, 2020—Misogynoir
End Adultification Bias (Full Version) (video)
The Uses of Anger by Audre Lorde (essay)
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House (pdf) by Audre Lorde (essay)
How to Be an Anti-Racist: Chapter 14: Gender by Ibram X. Kendi
M4BL: End of the War on Black Women (website)
Doreen Garner Sculpts Our Trauma | Art21 "New York Close Up" (video)
The problem with celebrating the 19th Amendment: Opinion by Treva B. Lindsey (article)
Ida B. Wells | The Vote | American Experience | PBS (video)
Week 2: October 16, 2020—Reparations
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic article)
What is Owed by Nikole Hannah-Jones (NYT article)
We May Be the First People to Receive Reparations for Slavery | NYT Opinion (NYT video)
Slavery reparations bill debated in US House hearing (The Guardian video)
‘Stain of slavery’: Congress debates reparations to atone for America's original sin (The Guardian article with video)
North Carolina City Will Give Reparations to Black Residents | NowThis (video)
How Reparations Could Fix The Racial Wealth Gap In America | NBC News NOW (video)
Six questions about slavery reparations, answered (CNN article)
Week 3: October 23, 2020—Afrofuturism, Otherwise Worlds, and Freedom Dreaming
Why should you read sci-fi superstar Octavia E. Butler? - Ayana Jamieson and Moya Bailey (video)
Excerpt: "Emergent Strategies" - adrienne maree brown (video)
Sci-Fi Digital Series “Afrofuturism” Sun Ra Part 1 | DUST (video)
Afrofuturism Explained: Not Just Black Sci-Fi | Inverse (video)
Otherwise, Ferguson by Ashon Crawley (essay)
Against the Normative World by Sofia Samatar (interview)
NOTES TOWARD A THEORY OF QUANTUM BLACKNESS by SOFIA SAMATAR (poem)
Freedom Dreaming: A Call to Imagine by Sarah Branch, Downtown Brooklyn Arts Management Fellow
Week 4: October 30, 2020—Race and Disability
Intersectionality & Disability, ft Keri Gray, the Keri Gray Group #DisabilityDemandsJustice (video)
#RaceAnd: Kay Ulanday Barrett (video)
Week 5: November 6, 2020—Education as Liberation: Anti-Racist Pedagogy
Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Chapter 2—Paulo Friere (full text)
bell hooks on interlocking systems of domination (4 min video)
Creating Inclusive Classrooms (Mason Website)
“Education Liberates” featuring bell hooks and Bettina Love (1 hr, 30 min video)
Week 6: November 13, 2020— Black Trans Lives Matter
Black Trans* Lives Matter | D-L Stewart | TEDxCSU
Democracy Now (video)
Week 7: November 20, 2020— Black Joy, Self Care & Healing from Racial Trauma
How racism makes us sick | David R. Williams
Racism at My Job Literally Gave Me PTSD by Erika Stallings
Audre Lorde reads Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power (FULL Updated)
- Black Lives Matter Films (Film at Mason/VFS)
- An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter
- With Friends Like These - "White Fragility 101" (Podcast)
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- Welcome to Racial Equity Tools
- MPD150: A People's Project Evaluating Policing
- Do the Work: An Anti-Racist Reading List
- White Fragility Mixtape
- Decolonize Your Syllabus
- If you’re planning to take part in protests, know your rights. Read this.
- Covering by Kenji Yoshino
- Addressing Micro-Aggression in the Workplace - Featuring Lenora Billings-Harris (video)
- “What the Police Really Believe” by Zack Beauchamp
- Theater Resource: Alternative Canon to 1945
- Theater Resource: School of Theater’s List of Books