Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reviewed on H-NET, Humanities & Social Sciences Online

A traditional historian provides a substantial review of Living with Lynching for H-Net, covering nearly every chapter in some detail. Highlights include:

"...Living with Lynching provides an emphatic push to change how we understand, write about, and teach the phenomenon of lynching."

"Living with Lynching does many things well. Historians will note that Mitchell has joined Davarian Baldwin (Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life [2007]) in geographically decentering the Harlem Renaissance. Her emphasis on a cadre of Washington DC playwrights makes clear the national flourishing of black arts and letters in the interwar period. Moreover, Mitchell’s choice to focus on lynching dramas as a product of the black community that reaffirmed its values and goals pushes historical analysis away from a simple interpretation of black cultural production as a 'protest art' in response to white oppression."

"Living with Lynching is a well-written, well-researched piece of scholarship that will hold great value for historians studying black life in the interwar period, the Harlem Renaissance, and the phenomenon of lynching. It pushes beyond the frozen in time image of the mutilated black body to the impact of lynching on the black household. Living with Lynching makes clear how African Americans in this period combated stereotyped images by reinforcing and performing 'how they saw themselves' and 'who they believed themselves to be' (p. 199)."

Full review HERE.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Interviewed by ColorLines Magazine

Short piece on Trayvon Martin case, the racial violence examined in Living with Lynching, and the importance of community conversation.

ColorLines is a publication of the Applied Research Center (

Friday, March 2, 2012

Indiana University

On Thursday, February 16, 2012, I gave a lecture at Indiana University. My visit was arranged by Professor Amy Cook, whose research centers on theatre and cognitive science. Her interest in my work and willingness to read it so carefully—and engage me so rigorously—was nothing short of humbling.

Professor Cook arranged for me to meet with Theatre and Drama graduate students in an intimate setting long before the lecture. During this session, we discussed everything from my book's performance studies methodology to the various strategies that being a woman in the profession has required me to adopt. This is when it became clear how thoroughly Professor Cook had read my book. It was also clear that she is doing remarkable work with her graduate and undergraduate students. I say a bit about that here.

I have always felt that I do this work only with the help of the ancestors. I am grateful for this image, which captures that feeling. Ida B. Wells, I speak your name.

After the lecture, I got to chat with members of the Indiana University African American and African Diaspora Studies Graduate Society. Visiting professor Walton Muyumba is on the second row to the left. He brought his graduate class, and afterward, we talked about everything from James Baldwin to Black Girls RUN!

It was a thoroughly invigorating visit. I am inspired by Amy Cook's example and remain excited about the conversations this visit made possible.