Skip to main content

Northwestern hosts renowned history and humanities scholar Gabrielle Foreman

Campus events with ‘Colored Conventions Project’ founder will take place May 2 to 6

Internationally renowned Black history, literature and digital humanities scholar Gabrielle Foreman will participate in a series of Northwestern University campus events May 2 to 6.

Foreman is professor of English, African American studies and history at Penn State University, where she holds the Joseph Paterno Family Chair in Liberal Arts. She is the founding director of the Colored Conventions Project (CCP) website, which preserves the records of seven decades of early Black convention organizing and features interactive historical exhibits, documenting what was then called the Colored Convention movement.

Northwestern’s events will showcase Foreman’s interdisciplinary expertise in Black history, art, poetry and digital humanities and her accomplishments at bringing Black history to communities through on-line exhibits and collaborations in the arts.

“Dr. Foreman is a brilliant thinker whose collaborative leadership has significantly shaped scholarship across disciplines. We’re honored to have her share her wisdom with us for a few days,” said history professor Kate Masur, Board of Visitors Professor at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Public events

Two free public events will take place in-person in the McCormick Foundation Center Forum Auditorium, 1870 Campus Drive. Reservations are not required.

  • The Colored Conventions Project, Digital Humanities, and Black Interventions in the Past and Present
    Foreman joins Danielle Bainbridge, assistant professor of theatre at the School of Communication, for a public conversation about her groundbreaking digital humanities project the Colored Conventions Project. The conversation takes place at 4 p.m. Monday, May 2.
  • Go Back and Get It: Black Loss, Black Recovery, Black Resurrectionary Poetics” 
    Foreman discusses how digital archives, like Black poetry, can “reach back to the past and structure neighborhoods of meaning that bring home lost records and loss records to those who recognize them. In doing so, they trace how cultural descendants go back to lost sources, using innovative methods and resurrectionary poetics to sit in conversation with Black historical hauntings and to make space for — and to make peace for — our living dead.” The discussion takes place at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 4.

Student and faculty workshops

Foreman draws from her experience in the academy to facilitate career advancement workshops for faculty and graduate students focused on pipeline and equity issues. She will lead mentoring workshops for faculty on developing a “board of advisors” and a professional development graduate student workshop centering the experiences of Northwestern BIPOC and first-generation graduate students.

Foreman also will participate in “2D to 3D,” a workshop led by Danielle Bainbridge. Participants will be encouraged to explore “Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice,” the curated online archive produced at Northwestern as part of the CCP, and to prepare a creative response, such as short writings (creative nonfiction, fiction, drama, etc.), sketches of designs, or outlines for future exhibits related to their own research. On the day of the workshop, participants will share their work with the group and Foreman, to evaluate the process of creating digital media and creative work that is related to scholarly research.

The weeklong series of events is sponsored by the departments of African American Studies, History and Theatre, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the N. W. Harris Lecture Fund and the Office of the Provost. For more information about the faculty and student workshops, contact the Office of the Provost at