Lasana D. Kazembe (a Chicago Native Son) is an Assistant Professor at IUPUI (Indianapolis) and teaches in the School of Education (Dept. of Urban Teacher Education) and in the Africana Studies Program. He is a scholar of Urban Education, Global Black Arts Movements, and the Black Intellectual Tradition. His research interests intersect Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, the Arts and Arts-based Learning, and social & racial justice in education. He has published numerous scholarly articles on education, race, culture, and history.
Currently, Dr. Kazembe serves as the Executive Director for Third World Press Foundation - the oldest Black publisher in the world - which was founded by Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti in 1967 during the Black Arts Movement.
A Poet and Spoken Word artist, Dr. Kazembe has performed at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., and venues in Canada, and Africa. As teaching artist, he has developed and facilitated creative writing programs within youth detention centers, prisons, community centers, K12 schools, and other learning spaces.
A committed Culture Worker, Dr. Kazembe develops and facilitates learning enrichment opportunities that intersect education, creative arts, and Africana history & culture. His aesthetic sensibilities are steeped in the deep, rich, and sentient genealogy of the African Diasporic experience. With and within this space, he inspects, reflects, and leverages history, memory, meanings, traditions, culture, art, and accumulated folk experiences. His work is interlaced with storied traditions found in jazz, blues, spirituals, Hip Hop and the deep well of Africana/Black American cultural traditions spoken and written.
Dr. Kazembe's latest (edited) book, entitled Keeping Peace: Reflections on Life, Legacy, Commitment, and Struggle (2018), was published by Third World Press Foundation.
His upcoming project is a ‘blues poetry opera’ based on the life and legacy of Richard Wright. This multimedia performance is entitled: “The Voodoo of Hell’s Half-Acre”: The Travelin’ Genius of Richard Wright from Natchez to Chicago: A Blues Poetry Opera.