In this week’s episode of Contemporary Black Canvas, we had the pleasure of interviewing scholar GerShun Avilez about his most recent book, Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism. In Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism, Dr. Avilez challenges the belief that the Black Arts Movement was a “dead end” and instead asks “What if it wasn’t”? On his search to find the continuities between the central questions and themes explored by the artists of the Black Arts Movement and the work of artists from subsequent artistic eras, Dr. Avilez offers surprising and meaningful connections between artists who we would not ordinarily pair together. This work offers offers a deeply nuanced and highly engaging analysis of Black art in the 1960s and beyond. Dr. Avilez is a cultural studies scholar who specializes in contemporary African American literature and visual culture as well as American literature. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Tune into this week’s episode as we learn how he spent his school lunch periods, the profound impact reading The Color Purple had on his life, the lessons he learned from his first ‘C’ grade in college, and how his undergraduate mentor played a vital role in his decision to become a professor. Be sure to pick up a copy of his work Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism at your local independent bookstore or through the University of Illinois Press.
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