Kashif Powell


Sketches of a Man: Reimagining Ralph Ellison’s Classic Novel 
February 25, 26, & 27 at 8pm, Annie May Swift Hall 103, Alvina Krause Studio

In the prologue of his most renowned work, Ralph Ellison sketches the uncanny force of Louis Armstrong’s music to “make poetry out of being invisible.” In the chapters that follow, Ellison’s protagonist becomes the embodiment of those poetics as he journeys the world, unseen. In November of 2014 and the months that followed, those poetics were set ablaze throughout the nation, as protestors emerged from the realm of invisibility to declare: “Black Lives Matter.”

Sketches of a Man reimagines Ellison’s classic text by placing the poetics of invisibility in dialogue with contemporary political movement(s) to make #BlackLivesMatter. Engaging the aural, aesthetic, and performative dimensions of blackness, Sketches of a Man holds Ellison’s work up to the light of live theatre to consider the politics and poetics of existing in a world in which you “do not exist.”

This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Performance Studies.

Postdoctoral fellow for the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern University, Dr. Kashif Powell invests in performance theory and praxis to understand how death, desire, and imagination work in concert to articulate social, political, and aesthetic constructions of blackness. He received his doctorate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Performance Studies and Communication Theory, his master’s degree from California State Univ., Long Beach in Rhetoric and Communication Studies, and his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in Political Theory. He is a past recipient of the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Jacob K. Javits doctoral fellowship.