In the late nineteenth century, Baha’u’llah likened people of African descent to the “pupil of the eye” through which the “light of the spirit shineth forth.” In this presentation hosted by the Wilmette Institute, Derik Smith suggests that the “pupil of the eye” metaphor is a deeply consequential, distinguishing feature of the transformative social and spiritual system laid out in Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.
Derik Smith is a professor in the Department of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. His work focuses on African American literary culture, with a particular interest in poetry. He also teaches and writes about representations of blackness in American filmic and musical culture. His 2018 monograph, Robert Hayden In Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry and the Black Arts Era, recently won the College Language Association’s annual book award. His current scholarship focuses on the poetics of rap, and the rise of the genre during the final decades of the twentieth century, as well as the connection between critical race studies and the Baha’i Faith. Smith regularly teaches courses in American prisons and nurtures activist interests in prison studies and pedagogy. He and his family live in Southern California.
If you enjoyed this, you may also be interested in our podcast episode featuring Derek Smith: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 39: Derik Smith
If you’re curious to know more about the Wilmette Institute, which hosted this presentation, please visit their website: wilmetteinstitute.org