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Documentary on Controversial African Studies Scholar

This month on snippets of the film “Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness,” which chronicles the life and career of the late Melville J. Herskovits, a pioneering American anthropologist of African studies, will be featured.

Herskovits was a controversial intellectual who established the first center for African studies at Northwestern University in 1948.

The documentary traces Herskovits’ development as a scholar to the shared African American and Jewish experiences of exile, exclusion and political oppression. It raises unsettling questions, asking who has the authority to define a culture, especially if people from that culture are denied the opportunity to engage in the scholarly discourse of defining themselves. Can an oppressed people retain their distinct ethnic identities and still participate as equals in American life? Tune in as prominent scholars, such as Princeton philosopher K. Anthony Appiah and Columbia University historian Mae Ngai, explore these issues through their own experiences as people of color.

For more information on the film please click here.

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