Black Joy by Any Means Necessary: Deviance, Pleasure and Critical Media

Speaker(s): Chaz Barracks, Aimee Meredith Cox, Shaka McGlotten and Charlyn/Magdaline Griffith/Oro

Kitchen-table style discussion with Chaz Barracks, Aimee Meredith Cox, Shaka McGlotten and Charlyn/Magdaline Griffith/Oro

This event will be streamed live beginning at 6:00 pm EST.

Con-artistry as a theory and practice stems from interpretations of the trickster in oral and literary traditions to contextualize and explain the scholarly motivations undergirding some accounts of black criminality and deviant performance as joy- seeking practice. Con-artistry references a broader practice beyond tricksterism, which historically has focused heavily on the powerless procuring things from the powerful, rather than an everyday practice of survival and fulfillment, which includes achieving desired material goods and obtaining black joy by any means necessary. 

A panel of fellow Blackademics and media/visual artists will reflect on Black joy as form of resistance— not only through our shapeshifting scholarship/art practice but through the embodied practices we have gained from the homeplace, what the late bell hooks taught us to be the site of resistance, where we may exist as Black in all our boundlessness. Antoine Haywood will be DJing this event. 

This event is co-sponsored with The Center for Experimental Ethnography. Attendees are invited to join the event either in person at the Penn Museum’s Rainey Auditorium or virtually via this live streamevent logos

About the Speakers

Chaz Antoine Barracks is a Blackademic, artist-scholar, podcaster, filmmaker and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Media at Risk at the Annenberg School for Communication. Barracks’s research centers Black queer aesthetics, joy and multimodal media that reflects home-making practices within Black cultural spaces. He also studies the impact of storytelling as a form of theory making—using podcast, film, and performance to circulate assessable knowledge production that challenges long-standing institutional norms. His scholarly practice is grounded in interdisciplinary studies that pull together performance research, Black Studies, rhetoric and communications, film, and digital humanities. After completing his doctorate in 2020, he wrote and directed the Everyday Black Matter film project, which launched from his emerging media hustle Black Matter Productions, LLC. 

Aimee Meredith Cox is Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Yale. She is the author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015), which won the 2017 book award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America and a 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing. She is also the editor of the volume, Gender: Space (MacMillan, 2018). Cox is a dancer and choreographer who has toured internationally and has choreographed performances as interventions in public and private space in Newark, Philadelphia and Brooklyn. She is currently working on two books projects based on ethnographic research among Black communities as part of an overall project called “Living Past Slow Death.” 

Shaka McGlotten is Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College-SUNY, where they also serve as Chair of the Gender Studies and Global Black Studies Programs. They are the author of Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality (SUNY Press, 2013),  Dragging: Or, in the Drag of a Queer Life (Routledge, 2021) and they are currently working on a project called Black Data. McGlotten’s work stages encounters between black study, queer theory, media and art. They have written and lectured widely on networked intimacies and messy computational entanglements as they interface with qtpoc lifeworlds.

Charlyn/Magdaline Griffith/Oro examines communication between the dead and the living. They are a researcher and artist/activist creating performance, objects and imagery as rituals for strengthening the potency of Black and Indigenous memory and imagination. They currently participate in the Chronicling Resistance fellowship with the Philadelphia Area Special Collections Libraries focusing on migration between the Arawak islands (so called West Indies) and Philadelphia. Trained as a Sociologist & Ecologist, with a long career in social justice, their abolitionist framework and specialization in community health & art education supports their emerging art practice.

Antoine Haywood studies how communities of color use geographically defined communication infrastructures to facilitate civic participation, democratic communication, collective learning and community care. His immediate research focuses on understanding the contemporary relevance of Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable television infrastructure. His autoethnographic methodology evaluates the resonance of African American participation in local storytelling networks and PEG-funded community media centers. Before his time at Annenberg, Haywood worked as a community engagement director at People TV, Atlanta, GA (2005-2010), and Philadelphia Community Access Media (PhillyCAM), Philadelphia, PA (2010-2018).

Event details

Penn Museum, Rainey Auditorium