Lester K. Spence - "Knocking the Hustle" - with Michael Dawson - CSRPC

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm


Lester K. Spence discusses Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics with Michael Dawson.
Co-sponsored by CSRPC
At the Co-op
About the book: Over the past several years scholars, activists, and analysts have begun to examine the growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of us, suggesting that the divide can be traced to the neoliberal turn. "I'm not a business man; I'm a business, man." Perhaps no better statement gets at the heart of this turn. Increasingly we're being forced to think of ourselves in entrepreneurial terms, forced to take more and more responsibility for developing our "human capital." Furthermore a range of institutions from churches to schools to entire cities have been remade, restructured to in order to perform like businesses. Finally, even political concepts like freedom, and democracy have been significantly altered. As a result we face higher levels of inequality than any other time over the last century.

In Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics, Lester K. Spence writes the first book length effort to chart the effects of this transformation on African American communities, in an attempt to revitalize the black political imagination. Rather than asking black men and women to "hustle harder" Spence criticizes the act of hustling itself as a tactic used to demobilize and disempower the communities most in need of empowerment.

About the author: Lester K. Spence is an associate professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in the study of black, racial, and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn. An award winning scholar (in 2013, he received the W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award for his book, Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics) and teacher (in 2009, he received an Excellence in Teaching Award), he can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and the Marc Steiner Show.
About the interlocutor: Michael C. Dawson is the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago.  He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University.  Dawson received his doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1986.  Professor Dawson was co-principal investigator of the 1988 National Black Election Study and was principal investigator with Ronald Brown of the 1993-1994 National Black Politics Study.  He directed numerous additional public opinion studies between 2000 and 2010.  His research interests have included the development of quantitative models of African American political behavior, identity, and public opinion, the political effects of urban poverty, and African-American political ideology.  This work also includes delineating the differences in African American public opinion from those of other racial and ethnic groups.  More recently he has combined his quantitative work with work in political theory.  His first two books, Behind the Mule:  Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton 1994) and Black Visions:  The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies (Chicago 2001), won multiple awards including the latter winning the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association.  Recent books include Not In Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Blacks In and Out of the Left (Harvard University Press, 2013).  Dawson has also published numerous journal articles, book chapters and opinion pieces.  Most recently he has with Megan Ming Francis launched a nationwide effort to study the intersection of race and capitalism within the U.S.  As part of this effort he has articles coming out in 2016 in Public Culture (with Francis), and Critical Historical Studies. He is with Lawrence Bobo, the founding co-editor of the journal The Du Bois Review (Cambridge University Press), as well as being the founding and current director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago.  Dawson has served as the Chair of the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago. Dawson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006.  Dawson has been interviewed extensively by the print and broadcast media including the Washington Post, The Economist Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR, PBS, BBC, CNN, BET, and ABC News.  
About the co-sponsor: The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) was established in 1996 under the direction of Professor Michael Dawson. From its inception, faculty, students, and staff who have been involved with the Center have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities. Scholars affiliated with the Center have also endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public debate among students and faculty.



Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637