In Spring 2020, Michigan State University will have the pleasure of hosting the world renowned poet Claudia Rankine, the author of Citizen: An American Lyric, and her long time collaborator, John Lucas, the director/cinematographer of Situations and The Cooler Bandits John Lucas.  Check out the information below for a sneak peak into what is being planned.

2020 College of Arts & Letters Signature Lecture with Claudia Rankine

Hosted by The College of Arts & Letters, Department of English (Creative Writing and Film Studies) and The Broad Art Museum


Public Talk and Presentation by Claudia Rankine. The week of April 6, 2020. Date TBD. This event is spearheaded by the College of Arts & Letters, in collaboration with the Department of English and The Broad Art Museum.

“Create a Situation” A Call for Text and Video Works from MSU students.  Significant prizes will be offered for the top entries. Winning student work will be featured in an exhibit at The Broad Art Museum. The works submitted for consideration must address the question “Who is a Citizen?” Submitted works (poetry, prose, screenwriting, video) may explore and critically consider racial difference and prejudice, nationhood and personhood, interpersonal and systemic violence, marginalized identities and experiences, migration and conflicted borders, and other themes relevant to evolving notions of citizenship in the United States. Please look out for the official Call for Work. 

The Broad Art Museum will exhibit the full circuit of all Situation videos, for the first time ever, from February to May 2020.

Community Forum with Claudia Rankine and John Lucas, organized by The Broad Art Museum


We are working with MSU Libraries to create a “pod” or inexpensive mini-course packet to make the teaching of Rankine and Lucas’ work a convenient and effective choice. Rankine and/or Lucas’ work will be of interest for anyone teaching courses with a focus on:

  • African American experience
  • Black/ Black Diaspora Studies
  • Race in the United States
  • Histories of Race and Corollary histories of the Transatlantic slave trade
  • Race and Gender
  • Criminal Justice and Public Policy
  • Media and Representations of Race
  • Systemic and Interpersonal Violence
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction and Documentary Literatures
  • Film and Documentary
  • Contemporary Ethnography 
  • Trauma and National Identity
  • Citizenship and Personhood

Faculty teaching undergraduate courses 

If you are teaching Rankine’s or Lucas’ work  in your undergraduate/IAH classes in Spring 2020, or if you’d like to start teaching it, please email the English Department’s Director of Literary Studies, Dr. Kristin Mahoney ( 

Faculty teaching graduate courses

 If you are teaching Rankine’s or Lucas’ work  in your graduate classes, or if you’d like to start teaching it, please email the English Department’s chair, Dr. Justus Nieland (

If you’d like to volunteer time, skills, or donate resources to this major undertaking, please write me or the project’s Graduate Student Assistant, Cristóbal Martinez at Please also direct all questions about related events and contents to