Lecture Series: Christopher Ian Foster + Carmen P. Thompson

November 06, 2023

Join us on Thursday, November 9 at 6:30 pm to catch the latest installment of PNCA's lecture series. The event is free + open to the public.

Venue: Shipley-Collins Mediatheque

'Ban This!': Critical Race Theory, Whiteness, and the Return of American Fascism

This panel conversation historicizes and contextualizes recent right-wing bans in the United States (bans on Critical Race Theory, Ethnic and Black Studies, “anti-wokeness” campaigns, and many others), within White supremacist and fascist political frameworks. It seeks to both understand and challenge these movements by drawing on important contributions from Black authors and Black history. Dr. Carmen P. Thompson’s book, The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth-Century Virginia, for example, shows how our nation’s White supremacist history undergirds institutionalized racism and anti-Blackness in a variety of forms, including the current manifestation nationally and in Oregon, of banning books by Black authors like Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, bell hooks, and Sonya Sanchez and more. Thompson’s work situates curriculum censorship, disinformation campaigns, and the inundation of school board meetings by conservative parents attempting to muzzle the teaching of truthful and accurate histories within the larger context of White Supremacy. Author of Conscripts of Migration, Dr. Christopher Ian Foster’s new project leans on anti-colonial and Black Radical traditions to understand the recent turn towards fascist politics in the U.S., evidenced by bans, censorship, illiberal politics, and unabashed racism. 

Carmen P. Thompson is a historian and author of The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth Century Virginia. She earned her Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her Master of Arts in African American Studies from Columbia University in New York.  Dr. Thompson is a highly sought expert on Race and Whiteness in America. Her scholarship was quoted in the December 2022 Oregon State Supreme Court decision, Watkins v. Ackley, in support of the Court’s conclusion of the disparate racial impact of non-unanimous jury decisions. She wrote the introduction to the forthcoming (2023) book, Protest City: Portland’s Summer of Rage, a photo book that chronicles the yearlong protests in Portland, Oregon after the murder of George Floyd by police in 2020. And she co-edited and authored articles in the peer-reviewed journal, Oregon Historical Quarterly, 2019 special issue on White supremacy in Oregon. She has held visiting scholar appointments at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University in New York and in the Black Studies Department at Portland State University and has taught a wide range of courses on the Black experience and Whiteness at Portland State University and Portland Community College.

Christopher Ian Foster is the author of Conscripts of Migration: Neoliberal Globalization, Nationalism, and the Literature of New African Diasporas (2019). He served as an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies at Jackson State University and James Madison University after receiving a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has published widely in postcolonial and Black diaspora studies and has taught courses on globalization in the International Studies Program at Colorado State University, he recently taught in the Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Oregon. He lives in Portland, OR with his partner and is working on a second book. He is currently a faculty member in the Black Studies and International & Global Studies departments at Portland State University.