Hey. Haven't been around since March. I've been hit pretty hard by a few key losses that made it difficult for me to write (here) regularly.
My dissertation advisor passed away unexpectedly earlier in the year. I wrote about how much he meant to me and to the discipline. I undersold his value.
Over the past few months we've lost two other giants in the field.
Richard Iton was a Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University. He's best known for his two books Solidarity Blues, and In Search of the Black Fantastic. He received his PhD in Political Science from Hopkins actually (in the mid nineties). In Search is without a doubt the best book on black politics and black popular culture ever written. It is a masterpiece. My own book wouldn't be possible without his presence–he blurbed the back of it and I'm pretty sure he was one of the anonymous reviewers.
Nick Nelson was a Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. I just realized Ohio State made his mid seventies work Electing Black Mayors available on pdf. It's invaluable in understanding not only the rise of black mayors in the seventies, but more recently in understanding Obama's rise. He was responsible for developing the African American Studies department at OSU as well as its community extension. He was the former President of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists as well as the National Council of Black Studies. Like Hanes he oversaw dozens of dissertations. And like Hanes he was gracious and humble to a fault–except when the subject was his beloved Ohio State football team.
Nelson was retired, while Iton was at the height of his powers. But both will be missed.
Finally, Detroit went under emergency financial management and is looking bankruptcy dead in the face. The emergency financial manager has gone so far as to consider selling the Detroit Institute of Arts assets to take care of creditors. This as corporate profits in the city have grown significantly. If we think of something like workfare as the neoliberal policy of forcing women unable to become entrepreneurial enough to either become entrepreneurial or die, then Public Act 72 is the neoliberal policy of forcing cities to do so. And of course the cities and institutions placed under EFM in the state of michigan are majority black.
These three losses, combined with the fact that I'm spending a lot of time "talking" about these issues on facebook, made it pretty much impossible for me to write consistently here along with my other responsibilities.
So I've had to pick my battles.
I've devoted most of my serious writing time to two projects. I've been working on a Race Matters like book (tentative title: Nobody's Coming) charting the neoliberalization of black politics. I made rough rough rough chapters available here. But I've finally finished a draft of it that I've sent off to the press. The book publishing industry is in the midst of transforming itself. Into what, we don't quite know yet. What I'd like to do is create a work that fully takes advantage of this transformation.
And I've been working on a book examining the post-Boundaries of Blackness politics of HIV/AIDS. I'm going to kick research on that project into high gear this summer with the hopes of having that book done next year.
Going forward, I expect to spend more time writing here, although it probably won't ever be "regularly regular".