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Penn State's Center for American Literary Studies presents "Racial Justice Protests and the Media: Unprecedented and Routine Violence"

In May 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in yet another instance of state violence against Black people. In response to Floyd’s murder, millions of people experiencing compounded precarity due to the COVID-19 pandemic took to the streets in protest, a mass movement that became known as The George Floyd Uprisings. Anticipating the two-year anniversary of Floyd’s murder, this webinar examines the relationship between routine and unprecedented violence and the role of media during and after the George Floyd Uprisings. Panelists will suggest how we might seize on that analysis to advance the fight for Black lives and to prepare for future mass rebellions.  


Joy James, Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Humanities, Williams College 

Activist, author, and political philosopher, Joy James advocates for political prisoners and works with the Black Internationalists Union at the Abolition Collective. She is the author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics and Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture. Her edited volumes include Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation and Rebellion; States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons; and The Angela Y. Davis Reader. 


Shemon Salam, Lecturer, Social Thought and Political Economy Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Shemon Salam is a Fanonist and Jamesian partisan of the George Floyd Uprising who has been involved in radical movements since 9/11. He is co-author, with Arturo Castillon, of The Revolutionary Meaning of the George Floyd Uprising (Daraja Press, 2021).


Matt Tierney, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Digital Culture and Media Initiative, Penn State University

Matt Tierney is the author of numerous articles and two books: What Lies Between: Void Aesthetics and Postwar Post-Politics (2015) and Dismantlings: Words against Machines in the American Long Seventies (2019).



Justus Peña Berman, Graduate Student, Department of English, Penn State


This webinar is part of the 2020-22 CALS “Unprecedented” Webinar Series.


For additional information, please contact Sean X. Goudie, director of the Center for American Literary Studies, at

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Friday, April 15 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

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