Christopher Paul Harris - "To Build a Black Future" - Barnor Hesse

Friday, September 15, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Christopher Paul Harris

Christopher Paul Harris will discuss To Build a Black Future: The Radical Politics of Joy, Pain, and Care. He will be joined in conversation by Dr. Barnor Hesse. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op.


About the book: When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought. To Build a Black Future examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture—responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care—emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave.

Drawing on his own experiences as an activist and organizer, Christopher Paul Harris takes readers inside the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to chart the propulsive trajectory of Black politics and thought from the Middle Passage to the present historical moment. Carefully attending to the social forces that produce Black struggle and the contradictions that arise within it, Harris illustrates how M4BL gives voice to an abolitionist praxis that bridges the past, present, and future, outlining a political project at once directed inward to the Black community while issuing an outward challenge to the world.

Essential reading for the age of #BlackLivesMatter, this visionary and provocative book reveals how the radical politics of joy, pain, and care, in sharp contrast to liberal political thought, can build a Black future that transcends ideology and pushes the boundaries of our political imagination.

About the author: Christopher Paul Harris is assistant professor of global and international studies at the University of California, Irvine. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University's Department of African American Studies.

About the interlocutor: Dr. Barnor Hesse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Black Studies, Northwestern University. His research interests cover Black Political Thought, Political Theory and Critical Race Studies. Recent publications: —co-editor (with Debra Thompson, 2022), 2020: One Pandemic, Two Pandemics, Black Lives Matter, South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol 121, issue 3; -Constitutive Outsider: Conceptual Methodologies in Black Political Thought (forthcoming, 2024, Duke University Press)’

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637