Georgia professor to speak at USF on race documentary

A lecture on Ebonics, race and language politics, co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and the Anthropology Alumni Association, will be presented to the public today at 4 p.m. in C.W. Bill Young Hall Room 107.

Titled “Fascination and Fear: American Popular Culture and the Black Masculine Fetish” the lecture featuring Jonathan Gayles will discuss his most recent documentary, “The E-Word” as well as his “own evolving understanding of the many contexts that influence student performance,” according to the humanities website.

Gayles is the recipient of the William H. Scheuerle Distinguished Humanities Graduate Award and is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Georgia State University, as well as an alumnus of USF.

“I hope students will be able to see just one example of the really great things our alumni go on and do after they leave USF,” said Elizabeth Kicak, director of the Humanities Institute.

“The E-Word” focuses on the Ebonics Resolution of 1996 of the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, California and the public conversation that followed. Gayles’ previous documentary, “White Scripts and Black Superman,” received international acclaim due to its analysis of black masculinity in comic books.

“I think we’re living in a time when race relations in the United States are tense,” said Kicak. “They are problematic and there are a lot of really important questions that need to be asked. I think events like this can open a dialogue and can really help inform people so they’re making good decisions and having good and productive conversations.”

Gayles has avidly studied popular culture and black masculinity as well as academic instruction in higher education, according to Kicak. Students should expect those issues to be highlighted, along with the research Gayles has completed over the past 10 to 15 years.

The Humanities Institute expects to have a mix of students, faculty and community members for turnout, based on previous lectures. The event is free and open to the public.

“Usually about 40 percent of our audience are people from outside USF so it’s a great opportunity to have students and faculty as well as community members come together for an event,” said Kicak.

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