Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies

Black Thought 2.0 will focus on the roles of digital technology and social media in furthering the mission of Black Studies. The conference will specifically explore how scholars are using technologies to further their research, do collaborative forms of scholarship and activism, and to reach broader audiences.

*All panels will be streamed and tweeted live



Friday April 6, 2012

Reception —5:30pm
John Hope Franklin Center Gallery Space

Keynote Address— 7:00 pm
S. Craig Watkins (University of Texas at Austin, author The Young & the Digital ) **Books will be sold. Cash or check only.**
Introduced by Wahneema Lubiano (Associate Chair of African & African American Studies, Duke University)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Panel #1 9-10:15 am
The Chocolate Supa Highway: Precursors to Black Social Media
Abdul Alkalimat   (University of Illinois)
Michelle Ferrier (Elon University)
Lynne d Johnson (Director of Strategy & Engagement at Whisprgroup)
Lee D. Baker (Moderator, Duke University)

Panel #2 10:30-11:45 am
On the Grid: Teaching and Researching in the Digital Age
Allison Clark (Founder AMedia1/HASTAC)
Kim Pearson (College of New Jersey)
Simone Browne (University of Texas at Austin)
Howard Rambsy II (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville)
Thomas F. DeFrantz (Moderator, Duke University)

Noon-1:15 pm | Working Lunch—Social Media Demonstration (**Food trucks will be on site.  Please bring cash**)

Panel #3 1:30-2:45 pm
From Jena Louisiana to Tahrir Square: Activism in the Age of Social Media
Jasiri X (Pittsburg based artist & activist)
Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Broken Beautiful Press/Mobile Homecoming Project)
Moya Bailey (Emory University/Crunk Feminist Collective)
Kimberly Ellis aka Dr. Goddess (artist, activist, historian)
Salamishah Tillett (University of Pennsylvania)
Treva Lindsey (Moderator, University of Missouri)

Panel #4 3:00-4:30 pm
The Twitterati and Twitter-gentsia: Social Media and Public Intellectuals

Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia University/ Our World with Black Enterprise )
Jay Smooth ( Editor of Ill Doctrine )
Blair LM Kelley (North Carolina State University)
Latoya Peterson (Editor of Racialicious)
Imani Perry (Princeton University)
Mark Anthony Neal (Moderator, Duke University)



S. Craig Watkins, Ph.D.

University of Texas at Austin

S. Craig Watkins studies young people's social and digital media behaviors. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin, in the departments of Radio-Television-Film, Sociology, and the Center for African and African American Studies.

Watkins' complete bio can be found at:

Abdul Alkalimat, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abdul Alkalimat is a native of Chicago, Illinois and received his PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.  He is currently a Professor in African American Studies and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research interests include: digital inequality, community informatics, and African American intellectual history. He moderates the largest African-American Studies discussion list, H-Afro-Am, and created and edits Malcolm X: A Research Site as well as eBlack Studies

Moya Bailey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Northeastern University

Dr. Moya Bailey is an assistant professor in the Department of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University. Her work focuses on Black women’s use of digital media to promote social justice as acts of self-affirmation and health promotion. She is interested in how race, gender, and sexuality are represented in media and medicine. She currently curates the #transformDH Tumblr initiative in Digital Humanities (DH). She  is a monthly sustainer of the Allied Media Conference, through which she is able to bridge her passion for social justice and her work in DH.

Bailey's complete bio can be found at:

Simone A. Browne, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
University of Texas at Austin

Simone Browne began her faculty position in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. She teaches and researches surveillance studies, biometrics, airport protocol, popular culture, and black diaspora studies. She is a member of the Executive Board of HASTAC.

Professor Browne's book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, examines surveillance with a focus on slavery, biometric information technology, airports, borders, and creative texts.

Allison Clark, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Clark is currently a research scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Distinguished HASTAC Scholar in Residence at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. Her research interests involve the creation and examination of culturally specific approaches and tools as intervention strategies in the areas of digital literacy and equity. She has researched, written, and presented on the digital divide and digital equity issues in the areas of computing, education and community. Her fifteen years of expertise in the area of digital access and inclusion has led her to create The Access + Digital Literacy Research Project.

Clark's complete bio can be found at:

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D.

Writer, Activist, Scholar, Entertainer, Entrepreneur

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D., is affectionately known as Dr. Goddess,” and a true Renaissance Woman. She is a writer, an entertainer, an entrepreneur, a scholar (of American and Africana Studies), and an activist. Dr. Goddess engages social media to promote a new age liberation ideology undergirded by revolutionary love and uses art, humor, scholarship and politics to do it. Her slogan is “Meet Dr. Goddess. Become a Believer.”—a believer in empowerment, in Womanism, in freedom, justice, equality, citizenship and in the fullness of our humanity.

Ellis' complete bio can be found at:

Michelle Ferrier, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Elon University

Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D.


This year Alexis is using her best developed and most cherished skill-the art of the life-changing workshop-to raise funds to support her decision to spend the next year doing the MobileHomeComing an immersive intergenerational community documentation and education project based on her lust for back queer community!  (It’s weird that somehow I have to be consistent with a choice to talk about myself in the third person here, but I want to interject in the first person to say that your support means everything to me and it is evidence of the fact that it is possible to be a community supported, community accountable scholar in the 21st Century.

Gumbs complete bio can be found at:

Marc Lamont Hill, Ph.D.

Morehouse College

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country.

He is currently the host of BET News and VH1 Live, as well as a political contributor for CNN. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hill is Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Temple University.

Hill's complete bio can be found at:

Lynne d Johnson

Content + Community Consultant

Lynne d Johnson is a Content + Community Consultant developing content and community strategies that help brands become more humanized and build better communications and relationships with consumers toward driving brand awareness, loyalty, and purchase intent. Some services include: Social Media Audit(s) + Benchmarking and Recommendations, Creative Concepting + Campaign Planning, Content Strategy and Development for Blogs and Micro-blogs, Influencer Relations Strategy + Identification + Outreach, Competitive and Industry Analyses + Customer Profiling, Social Media Education + Workshops.

She was formerly a Director of Digital and Social Media at Waggener Edstrom, a Senior Social Media Strategist at R/GA, the digital agency of the decade, and SVP, Social Media for the Advertising Research Foundation, where she was responsible for expanding the ARF’s social media presence, and managing the ARF Social Media Council. In her role there, she also guided members on how they could best utilize social media to gain insights and achieve their business objectives.

Johnson's complete bio can be found at:

Blair LM Kelley, Ph.D.

Treva Lindsey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
University of Missouri-Columbia

I am a feminist/aspiring public intellectual/ godmother/friend/diva/ free-spirit committed to eradicating racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, poverty, and other inequities and disparities. I am an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies at University of Missouri-Columbia. I believe in the power of words, images and of informed action. My interests are broad and encompass the significant and the trite. Follow me and get the "diva feminist" perspective on what's going on in our communities!!!

Kim Pearson

Associate Professor
The College of New Jersey

Kim Pearson received a B.A. from Princeton and an M.A. in Journalism from New York University. Named the New Jersey CASE Professor of the Year in 2000, she teaches writing for journalism and interactive multimedia majors, as well as a course on W.E.B. DuBois. Her research on computing diversity and civic engagement has garnered support from Microsoft and the National Science Foundation. Her writing about race, religion, and sexuality have appeared in many freelance outlets and in her weblog, Professor Kim’s News Notes. Pearson regularly offers courses on Race, Gender and the News, Future of the News, and Writing for Interactive Multimedia.

Imani Perry Ph.D.

Princeton University

Professor Perry is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture using the tools provided by various disciplines including: law, literary and cultural studies, music, and the social sciences. She has published numerous articles in the areas of law, cultural studies, and African American studies, many of which are available for download at: She also wrote the notes and introduction to the Barnes and Nobles Classics edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Professor Perry teaches interdisciplinary courses that train students to use multiple methodologies to investigate African American experience and culture.

Latoya Peterson

Howard Rambsy II, Ph.D.

Jay Smooth

Hip Hop Radio Host
WBAI's Underground Railroad

Salamishah Tillet

Associate Professor
University of Pennsylvania

Salamishah Tillet is an Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and a faculty member of the Alice Paul Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization and A.M. in English from Harvard University and her M.A.T. from Brown University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania where she received her B.A. in English and Afro-American Studies.

In 2010-11, she was the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow for Career Enhancement and served as a visiting fellow at the Center of African American Studies at Princeton University.  In 2010, she was awarded the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 2013-14, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Tillet's complete bio can be found at:

Jasiri X

Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies
April 6, 2012 to April 7, 2012
John Hope Franklin Center, Duke University

Duke University African & African American Studies; John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary & International Studies; "Left of Black" with Mark Anthony Neal; and the Duke University Office of the Provost