On Wednesday, September 16 from 7-9 p.m., the Center for Black Church Studies (BCS) will host a conversation on The Toni Morrison Book Club with authors Dr. Juda Bennett, Dr. Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Dr. Cassandra Jackson, and Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams. This virtual event is free and open to the public.
About The Toni Morrison Book Club
In this startling group memoir, four friends and scholars — black and white, gay and straight, immigrant and American-born — use Toni Morrison’s novels as a springboard for intimate and revealing conversations about the problems of everyday racism and living whole in times of uncertainty. Tackling everything from first love and Soul Train to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, the authors take up what it means to read challenging literature collaboratively and to learn in public as an act of individual reckoning and social resistance.
Framing their book club around collective secrets, the group bears witness to how Morrison’s works and words can propel us forward while we sit with uncomfortable questions about race, gender, and identity.
Dr. Juda Bennett, English department chair at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), received degrees in creative writing at Binghamton University and a PhD in American literature from Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches courses on queer literature and theory, African American literature, and transgender theory. He is the author of Toni Morrison and the Queer Pleasure of Ghosts and The Passing Figure: Racial Confusion in Modern American Literature. His scholarly essays on race and sexuality have appeared in The African American Review, Biography, ImageText, and other journals, and his creative work has appeared in Laurel Review, Quarterly West, Wisconsin Review, and other literary journals.
Dr. Winnifred Brown-Glaude, associate professor of African American studies and sociology and anthropology at TCNJ, received her PhD in sociology from Temple University (2003). Her primary fields of research include race and ethnicity in the Anglophone-Caribbean, race, gender and informal economies, and gender and globalization. Her most recent book is Higglers in Kingston: Women’s Informal Work in Jamaica. Her other publications include several articles and an edited collection, Doing Diversity in Higher Education: Faculty Leaders Share Challenges and Strategies. She is currently working on her third book, Neoliberalism in a Small Place: The Case of Jamaica.
Dr. Cassandra Jackson, professor of English at TCNJ, received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in English from Emory University. Her research and teaching interests focus on African American literature, critical race theory, and visual culture. She is the author of Barriers Between Us: Interracial Sex in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Violence, Visual Culture, and the Black Male Body. In 2010 she co-curated a TCNJ Art Gallery exhibit, “Wounding the Black Male: Photographs from the Light Work Collection.” This exhibit has also been shown at the Light Work Gallery (Syracuse) and the CEPA Gallery (Buffalo). Professor Jackson is an alum of the OpEd Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of women and minority thought leaders in key commentary forums. Her public commentary on race in American culture can be found on the Huffington Post. She is currently working on a book of creative non-fiction on race and infertility.
Dr. Piper Kendrix Williams, associate professor of English and African American studies at TCNJ, received a BA from Spelman College and an MA and PhD from Rutgers University. She teaches various classes on topics in 19th and 20th century African American literature, African diaspora literature, and multicultural studies. Her book, Representing Segregation: Toward an Aesthetics of Living Jim Crow, and Other Forms of Racial Division, co-edited with Brian Norma, was published by SUNY Press in 2010.