“Futures of Black Radicalism” book launches at CASAR

Hanine El Mir
Copy Editor

The Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at The American University of Beirut hosted a launching event of the book “Futures of Black Radicalism” on Monday, October 2.

Cedric Robinson, scholar in Black Studies and author of the renowned book “Black Marxism” (1983), along with his wife Elizabeth Robinson, wanted to put together a collection of the Black community’s struggle. The result was the book “Futures of Black Radicalism”.

Even with Cedric’s passing last year, Elizabeth contributed greatly to the making of the book, with its cover being almost identical to that of “Black Marxism”.

Dr. Greg Burris (left), American University of Beirut, and Dr. Alex Lubin (right), University of New Mexico. Credits: Hanine El Mir, Copy Editor.

The event’s host, Professor and Director of CASAR, Dr. Amy Zenger, started off by introducing the book’s editor, Professor and the interim Associate Provost for Faculty at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Alex Lubin, and contributing writer and Professor of Media Studies at AUB, Dr. Greg Burris.

Lubin started the session by establishing the setting in which the book came about.

“It is difficult to discern today what is new and what is old about the present political conjuncture of political forces in America. It appears that white supremacy has been given national sanction by the President of the United States.”

He gave the example of the reinstitution of the war on drugs, as part of President Donald Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again”, and what he called, “a war that is better referred to as a war on black people and the poor.”

Taking it even further, Lubin stated that this is rooted in what Cedric Robinson would have referred to as “racial capitalism”. Race and class are interconnected, and to Robinson, the work is not centered on one or the other.

Burris, on the other hand, focused more on the Black-Palestinian solidarity movements, and looking at “how different bodies of thought can work on each other,” as he put it.

Burris became acquainted with Robinson in the Spring of 2011 during the Arab Spring which opened multiple conversations about Black community struggles and Arab revolution, simultaneously shifting subjects across continents.

His chapter in the book aims to explain this solidarity, especially since “the Black subject under slavery is not the same as the Palestinian subject under Zionist Settler Colonialism,” as he said.

The event ended with a Q&A session, followed by a raffle where audiences could register their names to get a chance to win one of the copies that were displayed during the event.

Copies of the book are not available at Lebanese bookstores yet. Dr. Zenger said that they have not reached an agreement with the AUB bookstore regarding the selling of the book; however, the organizers are going to donate a copy to the university’s libraries.

When asked about whether he thinks the book would be banned in Lebanon or receive negative feedback, Burris noted that he sees no reason why it would be, and he added that there are similar books currently being sold in local bookstores.

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