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14th Annual Bishop E.T. Dixon Lecture

Religious Life and Campus Ministry Invites the entire HT Community to Huston-Tillotson University’s 14th Annual Bishop E.T. Dixon Lecture

Agard-Lovinggood Auditorium, Thursday, Jan. 30 @ 2 p.m.

Featuring Dr. Michael Brandon McCormack

Brandon McCormack

On Black Life Insisted from Death: A Critical Meditation on Queen & Slim

Black viewers have been sharply divided in their responses to Lena Waithe’s and Melina Matsoukas’s recent film, “Queen & Slim”. Many viewers were intensely disillusioned by the film, lamenting that its portrayal of (more) state-sponsored black death was triggering and (re-)traumatizing. Others, however, deeply resonated with the affective, and indeed erotic, charge of fugitive black lives portrayed in the film. Others still were conflicted or simply ambivalent. This lecture takes seriously, but does not attempt to resolve the dissonance or tension between such legitimately felt responses. Rather, the lecture takes such fraught responses as an opportunity for critical meditation that calls attention to what literary and cultural theorist, Christina Sharpe, describes as the necessity of imaginative acts of resistance and refusal to the imposition of non-being or less-than-human-being on black bodies condemned to death. As such, the lecture is less about our responses to Queen & Slim and more about our responses to Sharpe’s call to the critical and creative work of attending, with care, simultaneously to “physical, social, and figurative death and also to the largeness that is Black life, Black life insisted from death.”

Michael Brandon McCormack is an Associate Professor of Pan-African Studies and Comparative Humanities at the University of Louisville, where he specializes in Black Religion and Cultural Studies. He earned his PhD in Religion at Vanderbilt University. His work has been published in numerous academic journals and edited volumes from “Black Theology: An International Journal” to the “Journal of Africana Religions”.


Ernest Thomas Dixon, Jr. was the first African-American elected as Bishop by the eight-state South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. Dixon, for which the lecture is named, is one of two HT graduates to receive “bishop” status.  He graduated magna cum laude from what was Samuel Huston College in 1943 before earning a degree from Drew Theological Seminary. He served the church and community in numerous positions while establishing innovative programs before and after becoming president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He retired in 1992 and died in 1996.


Free and open to the public.  Parking available in the Chalmers Avenue lot.