Virtual Event: Claudia Rankine


Just Us:
An American Conversation

in conversation with KIERSTAN CARTER

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September 22, 2020
7:00 PM ET


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$35.25 (book, signed bookplate, and shipping included) $5 suggested - pay what you can

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series is thrilled to welcome celebrated poet, essayist, and playwright CLAUDIA RANKINE—author of the award–winning Citizen: An American Lyric—for a discussion of her latest book, Just Us: An American Conversation. She will be joined in conversation by KIERSTAN CARTER, doctoral student in Harvard University's African and African American Studies department.


There are two ticket options available for this event:

Admission Ticket - $35.25: Includes one admission link, one copy of Just Us, and a bookplate signed by the author. US shipping also included. (Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.)

Free RSVP: Includes one admission link. We also suggest a $5 donation to support Harvard Book Store's staff and our virtual event series during these difficult times. Thank you for your support!

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About Just Us

As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history.

Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces—the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth—where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect.

This brilliant arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the voices and rebuttals of others: white men in first class responding to, and with, their white male privilege; a friend’s explanation of her infuriating behavior at a play; and women confronting the political currency of dying their hair blond, all running alongside fact-checked notes and commentary that complements Rankine’s own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word.

Sometimes wry, often vulnerable, and always prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true, being together.

Praise for Just Us

“This brilliant and multi-layered work by Claudia Rankine is a call, a bid, an insistent, rightly impatient demand for a public conversation on whiteness. . . . A rare honesty toward a potential affirmation. Anyone who turns away from this bold and vital invitation to get to work would be a damn fool.” —Judith Butler

“With Just Us, Claudia Rankine offers further proof that she is one of our essential thinkers about race, difference, politics, and the United States of America. Written with humility and humor, criticism and compassion, Just Us asks difficult questions and begins necessary conversations.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen

“Fiercely intimate, rigorous. . . . [Just Us] lets all of us in on the conversations—with others and the self—that are necessary for survival, which, attested by this all-too-human account, is rooted in the vigilance that racially imagined people must maintain for their very being.” —Nuar Alsadir

Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Her work has appeared recently in the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.

Photo Credit: John Lucas

Kierstan Carter
Kierstan Carter

Kierstan Carter

Kierstan Carter is a doctoral student in African and African American Studies with a primary field in Government (political theory). She studies the theoretical underpinnings of institutions within United States political life, with a special emphasis on law, policing, and punishment. Her current work draws out the philosophical contributions of African American fictions.

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