Reading group: Freedom dreams by Robin D.G. Kelley



After a successful first reading group (Worldmaking After Empire from Adom Getachew), we decided to keep the vibe going and continue with a second reading group on Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination from Robin D.G. Kelley (


We welcome staff and students to join us in our discussion of this important book within the field of postcolonial and decolonization studies. The sessions will be moderated by Koen Bogaert (Department of Conflict & Development Studies). If you want to join the reading group, please send an e-mail to (we will make a separate e-mail-list for further communication). When you confirm your participation, we will send you a pdf-copy of the book. The book is also available in our library.


Short description of the book’s objective: “Kelley unearths freedom dreams in this exciting history of renegade intellectuals and artists of the African diaspora in the twentieth century. Focusing on the visions of activists from C. L. R. James to Aime Cesaire and Malcolm X, Kelley writes of the hope that Communism offered, the mindscapes of Surrealism, the transformative potential of radical feminism, and of the four-hundred-year-old dream of reparations for slavery and Jim Crow.”


Robin D.G. Kelley is Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in US History at UCLA. He is author or co-editor of numerous award-winning books, including Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America, and Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class, among others.


In this article he reflects on the publication of his book 20 years ago and situates its main questions in our contemporary era:

Please note the following dates in your agenda:


  • Friday 28 of April (11h-12h30): chapters 1-3 (60p.) (Next Monday is the first of May)
  • Monday 15 May (11h-12h30): chapters 4-5 (75p.)
  • Monday 29 May (11h-12h30): chapter 6-8 and epilogue (64p.) 


Room still to be confirmed.