Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Brian Foster from University of Virginia will be presenting on "I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life."
Abstract: Between 2014 and 2020, Dr. Brian Foster talked with hundreds of Black Mississippians, about race, inequality, community, memory, politics, and more. In this talk, Foster shares with us some of what they shared with him, and invites us to consider what it all might mean for how we understand Black life now and how we study race and place into the future. Much of Foster's work in Mississippi is chronicled in his bookI Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life, in which he considers the value of non-affirming sensibilities like pessimism, frustration, and exhaustion for how we think about Black identity and lived experience.
Bio: Dr. B. Brian Foster is a writer and storyteller from Mississippi. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies from the University of Mississippi in 2011, and both his Master’s Degree (2013) and Ph.D. (2017) in Sociologyfrom the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Brian studies and writes about race and place—with special emphasis on questions and stories of racial stratification, regional development, placemaking, and culture. His scholarship has been supported by the National Science Foundation and American Sociological Association. Most recently, Brian’s work has focused on black communities in the “Delta” and “Hill Country” regions of Mississippi. For instance, his book I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) tells a story of Clarksdale, Mississippi, chronicling the town’s recent inclusion of blues tourism in its economic development plan and, for the first time, noting the dismayed response that that commitment has stirred among black residents.