Cosponsors
  • School of the Arts
  • Center for Justice
  • School of Journalism
  • Institute for Research in African-American Studies
  • Public Books

Full conference schedule here

Although critically acclaimed from the start, the HBO series The Wire was far less widely viewed during its original presentation (2002-08) than it has been in the succeeding years. It is one of the very few television series that has become both more popular and more revered over time--consistently ranking on top-ten lists as one of the best series in television history—despite never having been heavily publicized or available for viewing free of charge. It has also become a frequent text in sociology, African-American studies, anthropology, education, religion, law, urban studies, criminal justice, and media studies courses at universities in the United States and abroad.

This two-day conference considers the afterlife and legacies of The Wire. For those involved with its creation, the experience of The Wire was unusually transformative. The same might be said for those who study and learn from it. What accounts for the unique status of The Wire as an object of multi-disciplinary inquiry? Why does it appeal so strongly to those in the academy, and increasingly so as the years go by? In what ways has its unusual degree of creative collaboration led to other forms of collaborative work for creators and consumers (community activism, public humanities, team-teaching across disciplines)? What effect does its subtly traversing the borderline between fact and fiction have on interpretation?

Friday panels address teaching The Wire and the issues it raises in different pedagogical contexts; scholarship on The Wire, focusing on questions of seriality; the ethics and challenges of "immersion journalism"; and Baltimore as a "public square" site of stories about community, race, and responsibility. Friday will conclude with a panel featuring Blake Leyh, the music producer of The Wire, and some of the musicians on the soundtrack.

Saturday morning sessions focus on the school-to-prison pipeline and the intersection of race, religion, and politics in the inner city.

Saturday Afternoon proceedings require a ticket and will feature a roundtable on "Actors and Activism" featuring Wire actors Jamie Hector, Felicia Pearson, Wendell Pierce, and Sonja Sohn, followed by an early evening performance by the Moving Mountains Theater Company, a non-profit founded by Jamie Hector that empowers New York City youth through performing arts. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Moving Mountains Theater Company.

Special Panels

  • Panel 5, "Music from the Wire” | No tickets or registration required | This panel begins with discussion by those whose music and work behind the scenes gave the Wire its Baltimore sound. It also features performances by Wire soundtrack recording artists, including Baltimore’s Diablo Flamez and DJ Technics as well as producers Juan Donovan Bell and Jamal Roberts of Darkroom Productions.
  • Panels 8-9 | Ticketed event | Wire leads Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), Felicia Pearson (Snoop), Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland), and Sonja Sohn (Kima Greggs) speak on their community activism. Moving Mountains Theater Company, Jamie Hector’s nonprofit performing arts company for NYC teen will showcase their work.

Participants
  • Jamie Hector Actor/Activist
  • Felicia Pearson Actor/Activist
  • Wendell Pierce Actor/Activist
  • Sonja Sohn Actor/Activist
  • Frances Bartkowski Professor of English Rutgers University-Newark
  • DJ Technics Independent Recording Artist
  • Juan Donovan Bell Producer Darkroom Productions
  • Marcellus Blount Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Sherri-Ann Butterfield Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Sociology Rutgers University-Newark
  • Garnette Cadogan Visiting Fellow University of Virginia | New York University
  • Michael Casiano American Studies University of Maryland
  • June Cross Professor of Journalism Columbia University
  • Diablo Flamez Rapper Darkroom Productions
  • Andrea Elliott Investigative Reporter The New York Times
  • Toby Gordon Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins University
  • Jamal Joseph Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts Columbia University
  • Mariame Kaba Founding Director Project NIA
  • Frank Kelleter Einstein Professor of North American Cultural History,John F. Kennedy Institute Freie Universität, Berlin
  • Rob King Associate Professor of Film Columbia University
  • Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Independent Journalist
  • Blake Leyh Independent Music Producer
  • Andrea K. McDaniels Reporter The Baltimore Sun
  • Monica R. Miller Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religion Lehigh University
  • Ashley Minner American Studies University of Maryland
  • Jason Mittell Professor of Film & Media Culture and American Studies Middlebury College
  • Michael Leo Owens Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Undergraduate Studies Emory University
  • Sheri Parks Associate Professor of American Studies University of Maryland
  • Desmond U. Patton Assistant Professor of Social Work Columbia University
  • Arvind Rajagopal Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication New York University
  • Jamal Roberts Producer Darkroom Productions
  • Carla Shedd Associate Professor of Urban Education CUNY Graduate Center
  • Josef Sorett Associate Professor of Religion and African-American Studies Columbia University
  • LaKeesha Walrond Executive Pastor First Corinthian Baptist Church, New York
  • Linda Williams Professor in Film & Media and Rhetoric University of California, Berkeley
  • Joseph R. Winters II Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Duke University
  • Kalima Young American Studies University of Maryland
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