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Catherine Squires, “Generating Creative Friction: Counter-Narratives & Ethical Imaginaries at Home in Black Counterpublics”

Catherine Squires

Catherine Squires

Friday, 9.00 – 10.30 a.m.

This paper begins with a meditation on the “Rosa Parks House” controversy. The house was saved from demolition in Detroit, reconstructed in Berlin, then returned to the US for a memorial exhibition only to be suspended in a legal battle over its authenticity. Both sides in the battle over the house accused various constituencies in the US of “not loving Rosa Parks enough” to do the right thing in her memory. I view the controversy as a means to incite what Hazel Carby terms “creative friction.” I braid together stories of home linked to Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Erica Garner. I seek to illuminate and uplift counter-narratives of radical love and hospitality obscured in mainstream narratives of these women’s contributions to Black counterpublics. I weave these stories with contemporary projects inspired by these Black female icons to imagine means of repairing and rejuvenating traumatized Black selves and communities through ethics of radical love and care.

Catherine R. Squires is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of multiple books, including Dispatches from the Color Line (2007), African Americans & the Media (2009), and The Post-Racial Mystique (2014). Most recently she edited the collection Dangerous Discourses: Feminism, Gun Violence & Civic Life (2016) which was a finalist for the Tankard Award. Dr. Squires has published articles on media, race, gender, and politics in many journals, including Communication TheoryAmerican Quarterly, and the International Journal of Press/Politics. Professor Squires is also engaged in a long-term partnership with Gordon Parks High School and the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. She collaborates with teachers, students and elders to create publicly-oriented media that explore the history and future development of the Rondo neighborhood. Professor Squires earned her PhD from Northwestern University and was Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, from 1999-2007.