This is what my mission statement looked like for 2009:

What do I want to get accomplished for 2009?

I want to have two book contracts.—I got one book contract.

I want to have three paid speaking engagements.—I got one speaking engagement, but I signed up with a speaker’s bureau.

I want to start a consulting business of some sort.—I received one prominent consulting gig.

I want to have principled relationships–I didn’t define this, but I dropped my most toxic relationship, rebuilt my primary relationship, and created new powerful friendships with a few quality people.

What do I want to accomplish for 2010. I want to be as detailed as possible.

I want to publish three academic papers over the next year, with at least two papers based on data I have collected over the past few years (“Change We Can Believe In?” and a gender based one combining this with data from the HIV/AIDS paper), and at least one based on my next book project. To this end I want to write a paper a month.

I want to have three strong chapters that I can use to get a book contract for 2011 that will take me into my tenure year. These chapters will chart the effects of neoliberalism, the role race plays in the development of neoliberalism, and how this is reproduced and replicated within black publics. The Hobart and Smith lecture (Constructing Pookie) represents a second cut at this.

I want to have three paid speaking engagements this year–speaking on topics related to black politics, to black culture, and to the role of the city in the 21st Century. I plan to use video of my speech at Hobart and Smith to garner more support for my speaking.

What this means as far as a workflow is that I have to get back to writing every day. 1500 words if possible.


Here are academic related projects that I want to pursue in the time I am not working on one of the projects above:

The QR project–I want to create a living book of blackness using QR Codes. A book whose contents will change every week. This is going to
be a lot harder than I thought, but it is possible.

The Coney Island Project–I want to take a picture of every Coney Island in the city of Detroit for the purpose of creating a table book.

The Black Family Project–I want to write the book that I planned to edit on the role and nature of the black family in the Obama era. This project will be a combination personal story of my own family struggles and successes financially, educationally, and otherwise, a story of the politics of familial representation–charting the representation of black families in popular culture over time and connecting these representations to politics, a freakonomics type analysis of black inter-gender dynamics putting numbers to the types of stories well meaning people like Hill Harper have been telling. (How well can black women expect to be treated by black men if the numbers are out of wack? The gender-ratio project will loom large here.) And an analysis of public policies and intervening structures black people can create to build more sustainable relationships and 21st century families.

Black and White 52. In 2009 I came VERY close to taking a picture of myself every day. I may have missed it by 5 days. Because managing such a project is difficult I want to take one quality black and white picture every week, with the purpose of both getting better as a photographer and also developing a project of some sort. I am teaching Black Visual Politics in 2011, so perhaps I can begin to use this opportunity to play with ideas for my own media project. Addendum–this is shaping up to be a black and white 365 project.

Photo show. In 2010 I want my work to be displayed in a photo exhibit either on its own or with other artists. The Baltimore Black And White group I created would be an excellent group from which to have an Exposure.Baltimore type exhibit perhaps once every few months.

Tenure. In Fall 2010 I plan to go on the academic market. I want a tenure position in a top political science/African American Studies program, in a school that will give me the resources to pursue all of my interests, and that will give me the resources to successfully pay for my children’s education and provide for my family. I also want to use that place to further springboard my public intellectual career.

Out of the Mouth of Babes: I got this idea…I forgot how. But I want to take a series of prominent civil rights and black power era photographs and duplicate them using my children. I am now a shade older than Malcolm X was when he was assassinated, and I believe older than Martin Luther King Jr. was when he was murdered. It is striking to me how young they were when they were in effect expected to save black America and America from itself. The Panthers were even younger. I wanted to create an exhibit that would express the contradictions involved in having our youth be responsible for revolution.

The Unincorporated Area Project. The underbounding project I’ve taken on has grant written all over it. Are blacks and Latinos more likely to live in unincorporated areas than other groups? Are residents of unincorporated areas more likely to be beset with siting challenges (environmental racism)? Are they more likely to exhibit certain types of illnesses? Are they less likely to participate? Michelle Anderson began work on this project and spoke of a grant, but in talking with her I found out that the grant died on the vine. THIS is a bigtime grant project. I plan to write a grant of some sort to at the very least bring scholars together to talk about this issue.

What about the other fronts? What about family? What about my health? What about spiritual practice? What about mental practice?

I started working out again after the book was done. What type of meditative practice do I want to add to that? Ten minutes a day?