by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on MARCH 20, 2015: 

MalcolmXPosterFebruary 21, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. His life — as a black figure, as a Muslim figure, and as an international figure — and legacy have gotten widespread media and scholarly attention.

There are many academic Malcolm X representations, readings, and interpretations, and with many great figures in human history, their legacy is more and something other than that great person’s biography.

Said Duke Islamic Studies Center Director Omid Safi: “We are living through the 50th anniversary of many of the monumental events in the history of the civil rights movement. The protests in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere tell us that issues of racism, brutality, poverty and militarism are still with us.”

A national conference on “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist” was held on 2/20/15 and 2/21/15 at Duke and UNC — co-organized by Safi, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies professor Juliane Hammer, and African & African American Studies professor and host of Left of Black Mark Anthony Neal.

“Our aim is to commemorate his life, his thought and his unique contributions to struggles for justice, recognition and change in a world he experienced as both a challenge and a promise,” said Hammer.

The conference was sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Cosponsors included the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Department of Religious Studies (Duke University), African and African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).

Conference participants included Safi; Hammer; Neal; William Chafe (Emeritus, Duke); William “Sandy” Darity (Duke); Michael Muhammad Knight (UNC Chapel Hill); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California), Zaheer Ali (CUNY, Columbia University, Malcolm X Project), Abbas Barzegar (Georgia State University), Sohail Daulatzai (University of California-Irvine), William “Bill” Hart (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), and Jamillah Karim (author). Continue reading

by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary, on FEBRUARY 23, 2015 *Updated February 25 with Forum for Scholars & Publics video (above): 

February 21, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. This weekend his life and legacy got widespread media attention.

There are many academic Malcolm X representations, readings, and interpretations, and with many great figures in human history, their legacy is more and something other than that great person’s biography.

Said Duke Islamic Studies Center Director Omid Safi:  “We are living through the 50th anniversary of many of the monumental events in the history of the civil rights movement. The protests in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere tell us that issues of racism, brutality, poverty and militarism are still with us.”

Over the weekend a national conference on “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist” was held at Duke and UNC — co-organized by Safi, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies professor Juliane Hammer, and African & African American Studies professor and host of Left of Black Mark Anthony Neal.

The conference (details here) was sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Cosponsors included the Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Department of Religious Studies (Duke University), African and African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).

Conference participants included Safi; HammerNeal; William Chafe (Emeritus, Duke); William “Sandy” Darity (Duke); Michael Muhammad Knight (UNC Chapel Hill); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs), Maytha Alhassen (University of Southern California), Zaheer Ali (CUNY, Columbia University, Malcolm X Project), Abbas Barzegar (Georgia State University), Sohail Daulatzai (University of California-Irvine), William “Bill” Hart (University of North Carolina-Greensboro), and Jamillah Karim (author).

Above featured video is a panel discussion “Malcolm X Now” co-sponsored by Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Duke Islamic Studies Center featuring Alhassen, Ali, Hart, and Knight.

Below is a Twitter Storify of the event, as well as a selection of articles and interviews about Malcolm X that aired or were published over the past week by or about scholars who participated in our conference. Watch this space in the coming weeks for video features, including in-depth interviews. Continue reading

compiled by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary and KERI MAJIKES (CONFERENCE COORDINATOR, DUKE ISLAMIC STUDIES CENTER) on FEBRUARY 18, 2015: 

Malcolm X
Malcolm X

February 21, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, Malcolm X El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. On May 19, 2015 he would have been ninety years old.

Scholarship on Malcolm X abounds and has been produced by many scholars in/and from different fields, who have sometimes but not always been in conversation with each other. As a result, there are many academic Malcolm X representations, readings, and interpretations, and with many great figures in human history, their legacy is more and something other than that great person’s biography.

“We are living through the 50th anniversary of many of the monumental events in the history of the civil rights movement. The protests in Ferguson, New York and elsewhere tell us that issues of racism, brutality, poverty and militarism are still with us,” said co-organizer Omid Safi, director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. “Whereas we have celebrated and honored the legacy of Dr. King, the life and work of Malcolm X has not received the same level of attention.”

This Friday and Saturday a national conference on “The Legacy of Malcolm X: Afro-American Visionary, Muslim Activist will be held at Duke and UNC — co-organized by Safi, UNC-Chapel Hill Islamic Studies professor Juliane Hammer, and African & African American Studies professor and host of Left of Black Mark Anthony Neal.

The conference (details here) is sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Cosponsors include Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (Duke University), Department of Religious Studies (Duke University), African and African American Studies (Duke University), and the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations (UNC-Chapel Hill).

“Our aim is to commemorate his life, his thought and his unique contributions to struggles for justice, recognition and change in a world he experienced as both a challenge and a promise,” said Hammer.

Ahead of the conference we asked the invited scholars to choose their favorite quotes by and images of Malcolm X. Here are some of their responses below. Also included are videos in which the scholars discuss their research related to Malcolm X:  Continue reading

In this two-part interview (below),  African American studies professor at Duke University Mark Anthony Neal offers his insights on public scholarship, academic blogging, and leveraging social media.

by KEVIN ANSELMO for EXPERIENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS on AUGUST 20 and AUGUST 26, 2014: 

Why Professors Should Disseminate their Knowledge and Share Opinions to Public Audiences EXCERPT: Professors have a megaphone to the world. There are incredible opportunities for academics to communicate their knowledge with the general public through traditional and social media. While many don’t for various reasons, there are a number of professors who are doing this incredibly well. One such individual is Mark Anthony Neal, an African American studies professor at Duke University and author of the book New Black Man. The term “incredibly well” is quite a superlative, yet this is probably an understatement. As I noted in a previous post, Mark Anthony Neal’s blog featured 1063 posts in 2012. That’s not a typo! He averaged almost three different posts per day. In 2013, this number shrank to a “disappointing low of” 821 – that’s still more than two posts per day over the course of a year!

I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark and will be doing a series of blog posts with him on various aspects of his “media empire” and the best practice he can share with other professors. Here is part 1 focused on his strategy, goals and why he does this. FULL INTERVIEW

Leveraging Social Media as an Academic EXCERPT: Imagine writing or editing over 1,000 blog posts in a year. Or what about engaging with over 28,000 followers on Twitter. For Duke Professor Mark Anthony Neal, this is not a dream but a reality.

In a previous post, Mark outlined why he considered external communications important as a professor. So if you are not sure why you should blog, revert back to that post first! In this follow-up Q and A, he shares some of the lessons learned from his years of blogging and using social media.

How did you first get involved with blogging?
I started my blog in 2006 in part to promote my new book: New Black Man. I quickly realized that I could connect my content to my book and generate more visibility and also use the blog to promote radio and television interviews.

What does it take to be a successful blogger?
I never thought of myself as blogging. In fact, I work hard not to describe myself as a blogger. When I write on my site, I am writing. It might be shorter and pitched to a different audience, but it follows the same kind of sensibilities if I was doing a piece for The Atlantic Monthly or some other outlet. FULL INTERVIEW

via MARK ANTHONY NEAL AND ‘LEFT OF BLACK’ (SEASON 3, EPISODE 13) on FEBRUARY 4, 2013:  

This week on ‘Left of Black’: 

In her new book Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post Civil Rights Imagination (Duke University Press), University of Pennsylvania Professor Salamishah Tillet examines the ways Black artists and writers have democratized US memory by revisiting the “sites of slavery.” For Tillet, this is the natural extension of a segment of the American population that, despite possessing “legal” citizenship, continues to experience “Civic Estrangement.”

As Black American artists and writers have sought to reframe the past, the Muslim Third World has also reached back to Black American history finding political and cultural inspiration in the Black Radical traditions of Malcolm X and others—traditions that were themselves inspired by Muslim Third World resistance in Algiers and Iraq in the mid-20th century. UC-Irvine Professor Sohail Daulatzai makes these powerful connections in his new book Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America (University of Minnesota Press). Continue reading