Black studies has been an important academic field since its inception in the 1960s, but cases like the shooting of Trayvon Martin have thrown in our collective faces its continued relevance today. In a world with a black president, some people muse out loud that we are post-racial. That we don’t need to spend resources on something like black studies. Indeed, the programs are fighting for their lives at some public universities around the country.
It’s in this climate, that Duke University is hosting a conference on black studies. It’s called "Black Thought 2.0: New Media and the Future of Black Studies.” Host Frank Stasio talks about the Black Thought conference and the state of black studies with Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of black popular culture in Duke University's African & African-American Studies program; and Kimberly Ellis, a writer, playwright, actress and particpant in the conference.