Author Archives: TAPPhD

About TAPPhD

Therí A. Pickens received her undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature from Princeton University (P'05) and her PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA (2010). Her research focuses on Arab American and African American literatures and cultures, Disability Studies, philosophy, and literary theory. She recently published her first book, New Body Politics (Routledge, 2014), which investigates the role of the material body in constructing social and political critique. Her critical work has appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly, Al-Jadid, Journal of Canadian Literature, Al-Raida, and, the ground-breaking collection, Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English at Bates College. She is also a creative writer. Her poetry has appeared in Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Save the Date, and Disability Studies Quarterly. Her drama has been performed at the NJ State Theater. She offers courses on Arab American and African American literature. In her introductory courses, she seeks to provide students with information and skills that will enable and empower them to critically and constructively engage difficult topics like race, sexuality, gender, disability, and class. In her upper division courses, she pushes students to synthesize their knowledge from other classes and expand their critical thinking repertoires.

I Believe Dylann Roof When He Says He’s Not ‘Crazy’

As I listen to the coverage of Dylann Roof’s address to the court, I can’t help but return to a question that I often ask myself during research and my classes during particularly fraught conversations. What narratives do we simply … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Why go to the African Literature Association Conference

As I look forward to my next project, I am curious about the ways that it bears implications for fields I hadn’t carefully considered. For instance, literature written by Blacks in America has always had a specific national context, but … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Deciding what to do in Geneva

My trip is mostly business (3 academic conferences, you see) and there’s a bit of pleasure mixed in. Between Black Portraitures and the African Literature Association, I decided to see Geneva, Switzerland. I had a few days and so, why … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Access at Black Portraitures

Most conferences are not accessible for people with disabilities to present or attend. Access, for me, is about space for physically disabled people, mental space for folks who think differently, intellectual space to consider disability, and temporal space for folks … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Doing Dilettante as a Scholar

I must admit that every time I am around musicologists, I have to admit to myself that I don’t hear what they hear. I feel a little like I’m in a scene from White Men Can’t Jump, being chastised for … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: That Time When MLK Was on Vacation & Other Gasp-worthy Moments

I appreciate a failure to be respectable. Want to know why? Because. In a panel entitled “Activating Histories: Visualizing and Restaging the Archive,” I prepared to have a sobering experience about what it means to read an archive and what … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: What We Can Learn From Sub-Optimal Questions

We tell our students that there is no such thing as a stupid question. On the one hand, that’s true. For that context, there are truly few questions that shouldn’t be asked. In an environment where you’re trying to cultivate … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: You Will Not Out Do Black People, Florence/Firenze Edition

My main point in going to Florence was to attend the Black Portraitures conference, curated by colleagues at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. My excitement was two-fold. First, this had the serious, serious line-up of Black Studies scholars. In … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Food in Italy

I must say… I love food. I like eating it, talking about it, cooking it, learning about it. I was so excited to get to Italy because I thought pasta (eh, maybe), gelato (I tried it), but panna cotta. That … Continue reading

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Scholar Fierce: Boston Evening, Italian Nights

I tend to not have difficulty traveling alone. However, long flights are not for the faint of heart or the weary in body or spirit. I got to the Florence hotel safely and all – after meeting so many members … Continue reading

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