Rivers
Institute for Contemporary
Art & Thought
Origin*,

ca. 1400. “Ancestry, race,” from Old French origine—“origin, race”; aborigines, probably suggested by ab origine, of-the origin, applied first to the inhabitants of Latium; an aborigine or native inhabitant of a country, altered after indigene; and directly from the Latin originem (nominative origo): “arise, commencement, beginning, source, descent, lineage, birth,” from stem of oriri: “arise, rise, get up; appear above the horizon, become visible; be born, be descended, receive life”; figuratively “come forth, take origin, proceed, start” (of rivers, rumors, etc.); has compound aboriri: “to disappear, to die”; derivative adjective originalis becomes original, as “original” form of an artistic or literary work. Related: Sanskrit iyarti: “to set in motion, move”; Armenian y-arnum: “to rise.”

*Our inaugural season of programming is guided by our research and questions about “origin.”

  • Below we share some of the publications that have shaped our thinking this season…

  • Aciman, André. False Papers: Essays on Exile and Memory. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.

  • Amanpour & Company. “Sarah M. Broom on Her New Memoir The Yellow House. Filmed September 12, 2019. Video, 15:25. Link to video.

  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.

  • Badu, Erykah. New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). Universal Motown B0010800-01, 2007.

  • Baptiste, Bala James. Race and Radio: Pioneering Black Broadcasters in New Orleans. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2019.

  • Barker, Danny. A Life in Jazz. London: Macmillan, 1986.

  • Barnes, Bruce Sunpie and Rachel Breunlin. Talk That Music Talk: Passing on the Brass Band Music in New Orleans The Traditional Way. New Orleans: University of New Orleans Center for the Book, 2014.

  • Bartz, Gary. “I’ve Known Rivers.” From I’ve Known Rivers and Other Bodies. Fantasy, Inc., 1973. Link to video.

  • Battiste, Harold Jr. and Karen Celestan. Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man. New Orleans: Historic New Orleans Collection, 2010.

  • Beardsley, John, William Arnett, Paul Arnett, and Jane Livingston. Gee’s Bend: The Women and Their Quilts. Atlanta: Tinwood Books in association with The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2002.

  • Bell, W. Kamau, Hari Kondabolu, and Jasiri X. “Jasiri X: Hip Hop and the Movement.” Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. September 14, 2016. Podcast Audio, 47:42. Link to audio.

  • Bervin, Jen. River, 2018. Silver foil-stamped cloth sequins, metallic thread, silver mulberry paper, mull, Tyvek. 230 curvilinear ft. Link to project.

  • Brown, Adrienne, Adom Getachew, and Saidiya Hartman. “Episode 4: Saidiya Hartman.” WB202: The Critical Inquiry Podcast. November 20, 2018. Podcast Audio, 43:46. Link to audio.

  • Burgos, Jenzia. The Black Music History Library. Accessed Aug 19, 2020. Link to library.

  • Cable, George Washington and Lawrence N. Powell. The New Orleans of George Washington Cable: The 1887 Census Office Report. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

  • Campanella, Richard. Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm. Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, 2006.

  • Carroll, Lewis, illus. John Tenniel. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Centennial Edition. New York: Random House, 1965.

  • Carruth, Allison. “A Brief History of Public Art and the L.A. River.” KCET ArtBound, March 19, 2014.

  • Clayton, Tracy and Heben Nigatu. “Episode 43: A Gumbo of Afrofuturism (Vann R. Newkirk II).” Another Round. February 8, 2017. Podcast Audio, 1:06:32. Link to audio.

  • Cunningham, Vinson. “The Playful, Political Art of Sanford Biggers.” The New Yorker, January 8, 2018. Link to article.

  • Demby, Gene and Shereen Marisol Meraji. “The Code Switch Podcast is Coming!” Code Switch. May 9, 2016. Podcast Audio, 2:47. Link to audio.

  • Di Palma, Vittoria and Alexander Robinson. “Willful Waters: Los Angeles and Its River Have Long Been Enmeshed in an Epic Struggle for Control.” Places Journal, May 2018. Accessed Aug 6, 2020. Link to article.

  • Dobard, Raymond G. and Jacqueline Tobin. Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

  • Edelson, S. Max. The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017.

  • Eglash, Ron. African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

  • Eiland, Howard, ed. On Hashish: Walter Benjamin. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2006.

  • Elie, Lolis. “Gentrification Might Kill New Orleans Before Climate Change Does.” New York Times, August 27, 2019. Link to article.

  • Ellison, Ralph. Ed. by Robert G. O’Meally. Living with Music: Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings. New York: Modern Library, 2001.

  • English, Darby. To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2019.

  • Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

  • Fisk, Harold. “The Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River.” 1944. Radical Cartography. Accessed August 6, 2020. Link to site.

  • Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Herder and Herder, 1970.

  • Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

  • Gateward, Frances K. and John Jennings. The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2015.

  • Gaye, Marvin. I Want You. Tamla Motown, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc., STML 12025, 1976.

  • George, Nelson. The Death of Rhythm & Blues. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.

  • Ginzberg, Lori D. Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life. New York: Hill and Wang, 2009.

  • Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

  • Gundaker, Grey and Judith McWillie. No Space Hidden: The Spirit of African American Yard Work. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.

  • Hanger, Kimberly S. Bounded Lives, Bounded Places: Free Black Society in Colonial New Orleans, 1769–1803. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.

  • Hannah-Jones, Nikole and Wesley Morris. “Episode 3: The Birth of American Music.” 1619. Podcast audio, 35:28. September 6, 2019. Link to audio.

  • Harley, John Brian. The New Nature of Maps: Essays in the History of Cartography. Baltimore, MD and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

  • Hartman, Saidiya V. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007.

  • Hearne, Ted. Katrina Ballads. Musical Score. New York: Good Child Music, 2008. Link to audio.

  • Heerman, M. Scott. The Alchemy of Slavery: Human Bondage and Emancipation in the Illinois Country, 1730-1865. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.

  • hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press, 1984. Link to PDF.

  • Hsu, Hua. “The Critic Who Convinced Me That Criticism Could Be Art.” The New Yorker, September 21, 2016. Link to article.

  • Jackson, Danielle A. “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Review of The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom. Bookforum, December/January 2020. Link to review.

  • Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

  • Jones, Kellie. South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017. Link to site.

  • Kahn, Douglas. Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

  • Kelley, Robin D.G. Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. Boston: Beacon, 2002.

  • Kelly, Caleb. Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009.

  • Kelman, Ari. A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003.

  • Kennedy, Al. Chord Changes on the Chalkboard: How Public School Teachers Shaped Jazz and the Music of New Orleans. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002.

  • Kirsch, Adam. “The Philosopher Stoned: What drugs taught Walter Benjamin.” The New Yorker, August 13, 2006. Link to article.

  • Lubrin, Canisia, Voodoo Hypothesis: Poems. Hamilton, Ontario: Buckrider Books, 2017.

  • Lyster, Rosa. “Where Water Used to Be.” London Review of Books, April 2, 2020. Link to diary.

  • Marquis, Donald M. In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1978. Reprint 2005.

  • McPhee, John. The Control of Nature. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989.

  • Medley, Keith Weldon. Black Life in Old New Orleans. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2014.

  • Metabolic Studio. “Bending the River.” Accessed August 6, 2020. Link to site.

  • Miller, Matt. Bounce: Rap Music and Local Identity in New Orleans. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.

  • Miller, Paul D. (aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid). Rhythm Science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.

  • Mills, Kay. This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. New York: Dutton, 1993.

  • Monoskop. “Decolonial Aesthetics.” Last modified June 9, 2020. Link to article.

  • Moran, Jason and Matana Roberts. Loop. Issue 1. “Coin Coin Recollections.” Accessed September 1, 2020. Link to article.

  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.

  • Mugge, Robert, dir. Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise. New York: Rhapsody Films, 1980. Link to film.

  • Muhammad, Idris. Inside the Music: The Life of Idris Muhammad. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation, 2012.

  • Mullen, Harryette. Sleeping with the Dictionary. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.

  • Mullen, Harryette interviewed by Kyle G. Dargan. “Everything We Can Imagine.” Callaloo 30, no. 4 (October 2007): 1014–1016.

  • Music Maker Relief Foundation. “Leyla McCalla: ‘Lonely House.’” Video, 03:24. August 4, 2011. Link to video.

  • New York Times. “Suffrage at 100.” Accessed August 17, 2020. Link to article.

  • Oldaeus, Per. Professor Longhair: A Scrapbook. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2019.

  • O’Meally, Robert G., Brent Hayes Edwards, and Farah Jasmine Griffin. Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

  • Owens, Craig. “The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism.” October 12 (Spring 1980): 67-86. Link to text.

  • Owerko, Lyle, foreword by Spike Lee. The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground. New York: Abrams Image, 2010.

  • Poetry Reading Live. “Langston Hughes Reads ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers.’” Video, 02:25. October 9, 2013. Link to video.

  • Rayuwish. “John Biggers, African American Artist (1924–2001).” Video, 05:11. September 12, 2013. Link to video.

  • Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. New York: Norton, 1976.

  • Rinder, Lawrence. “Entwined Threads.” The Magazine Antiques, February 6, 2020. Link to article.

  • Rose, Jacqueline. Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2018.

  • Sakakeeney, Matt. “Mardi Gras Indians.” 64 Parishes, accessed August 6, 2020.
    Link to article.

  • Sakakeeny, Matt. Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.

  • Salami, Minna. “Exousiance: What Rivers Teach Us About Power.” Emerge, January 6, 2020. Link to article.

  • Schulz, Kathryn. “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad.” The New Yorker, August 15, 2016. Link to article.

  • Schwartz, A. Brad. Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News. New York: Hill and Wang, 2015.

  • Scott, Rebecca J. “‘Stubborn and Disposed to Stand Their Ground’: Black Militia, Sugar Workers, and the Dynamics of Collective Action in the Louisiana Sugar Bowl, 1863–87.” In From Slavery to Emancipation in the Atlantic World, edited by Sylvia Frey and Betty Wood, 103–126. London and Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1999.

  • Sharpe, Christina. In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

  • Shaw, Stephanie J. “Mothering Under Slavery in the Antebellum South.” In Mothering: Ideology, Experience, and Agency, edited by Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Grace Change, and Linda Rennie Forcey, 237–258. New York and London: Routledge, 1994.

  • Socarides, Alexandra. “The Poems (We Think) We Know: ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ by Langston Hughes.” Los Angeles Review of Books, August 1, 2013. Link to article.

  • Soja, Edward W. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Cambridge, MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

  • Staples, Brent. “How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women.” New York Times, July 28, 2018. Link to article.

  • Still, William with an introduction by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The Underground Railroad Records. New York: Modern Library, 2019.

  • Straßburger, Lena. “How to kill with a smile—how to smile about a kill: violent clowns as double incongruity.” Comedy Studies 11, no. 1 (April 2020): 25–35.

  • Sun Ra Music Channel (Official). “Sun Ra Speaks—Berkeley Lecture Pt 4.” Video, 12:06. June 23, 2014. Link to video.

  • Szwed, John F. Space Is the Place: The Life and Times of Sun Ra. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997.

  • Tanaka, Kimiaki. An Illustrated History of the Mandala: From Its Genesis to the Kālacakratantra. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2018.

  • Tate, Greg. Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

  • Theisen, Olive Jensen. Walls That Speak: The Murals of John Thomas Biggers. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 2010.

  • Vidal, Cécile, ed. Louisiana: Crossroads of the Atlantic World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

  • Villarosa, Linda, with photographs by LaToya Ruby Frazier. “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis.” New York Times Magazine, April 11, 2018. Link to article.

  • Wahlman, Maude Southwell, Museum of American Folk Art. Signs and Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts. New York: Studio Books with the Museum of American Folk Art, 1993.

  • Wardlaw, Alvia J. The Art of John Biggers: View from the Upper Room. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995.

  • Weber, Melissa aka DJ Soul Sister. Spotify playlists. Accessed August 6, 2020. Link to playlists.

  • Weiss, Allen S. Phantasmic Radio. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.

  • Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad: A Novel. New York: Doubleday, 2016.

  • Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Vintage Books, 2010.

  • Williams, Kandis, ed. Reader on the Chitlin Circuit. Los Angeles: Cassandra Press. Link to publication.

  • Wilson, Gaby. “WFH is Not the Work of Homemaking: How to Understand an American Quilt.” SSENSE, July 28, 2020. Link to article.

  • Wood, Denis. Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas. Los Angeles: Siglio Press, 2010.

  • Woods, Clyde. Development Arrested: The Blues and Plantation Power of the Mississippi Delta. New York and London: Verso, 1998.

  • @ISSUE. Season 3, Episode 9, “Fannie Lou Hamer.” Produced by MPB News. Aired October 6, 2017 on PBS. Link to video.