Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2020-03-06 18:05Z by Steven

Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Columbia University Press
March 2020
272 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780231194334
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231194327
E-book ISBN: 9780231550765

Solimar Otero, Professor of Folklore
Indiana University, Bloomington

Archives of Conjure

In Afrolatinx religious practices such as Cuban Espiritismo, Puerto Rican Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé, the dead tell stories. Communicating with and through mediums’ bodies, they give advice, make requests, and propose future rituals, creating a living archive that is coproduced by the dead. In this book, Solimar Otero explores how Afrolatinx spirits guide collaborative spiritual-scholarly activist work through rituals and the creation of material culture. By examining spirit mediumship through a Caribbean cross-cultural poetics, she shows how divinities and ancestors serve as active agents in shaping the experiences of gender, sexuality, and race.

Otero argues that what she calls archives of conjure are produced through residual transcriptions or reverberations of the stories of the dead whose archives are stitched, beaded, smoked, and washed into official and unofficial repositories. She investigates how sites like the ocean, rivers, and institutional archives create connected contexts for unlocking the spatial activation of residual transcriptions. Drawing on over ten years of archival research and fieldwork in Cuba, Otero centers the storytelling practices of Afrolatinx women and LGBTQ spiritual practitioners alongside Caribbean literature and performance. Archives of Conjure offers vital new perspectives on ephemerality, temporality, and material culture, unraveling undertheorized questions about how spirits shape communities of practice, ethnography, literature, and history and revealing the deeply connected nature of art, scholarship, and worship.

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Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2020-02-20 22:46Z by Steven

Biofictions: Race, Genetics and the Contemporary Novel

Bloomsbury
2020-02-20
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781350099838
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781350099852
PDF eBook ISBN: 9781350099845

Josie Gill, Lecturer in Black British Writing
University of Bristol, United Kingdom

In this important interdisciplinary study, Josie Gill explores how the contemporary novel has drawn upon, and intervened in, debates about race in late 20th and 21st century genetic science. Reading works by leading contemporary writers including Zadie Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler and Colson Whitehead, Biofictions demonstrates how ideas of race are produced at the intersection of science and fiction, which together create the stories about identity, racism, ancestry and kinship which characterize our understanding of race today. By highlighting the role of narrative in the formation of racial ideas in science, this book calls into question the apparent anti-racism of contemporary genetics, which functions narratively, rather than factually or objectively, within the racialized contexts in which it is embedded. In so doing, Biofictions compels us to rethink the long-asked question of whether race is a biological fact or a fiction, calling instead for a new understanding of the relationship between race, science and fiction.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Roots of African Eve: Science Writing on Human Origins and Alex Haley’s Roots
  • 2. Race, Genetic Ancestry Tracing and Facial Expression: “Focusing on the Faces” in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
  • 3. “One Part Truth and Three Parts Fiction”: Race, Science and Narrative in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth
  • 4. “The Sick Swollen Heart of This Land”: Pharmacogenomics, Racial Medicine and Colson Whitehead’s Apex Hides the Hurt
  • 5. Mutilation and Mutation: Epigenetics and Racist Environments in Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2020-02-18 19:13Z by Steven

Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

University of Pennsylvania
Max Kade Center
3401 Walnut Street
Suite 329-A
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, 2020-02-19, 16:00-17:30 EST (Local Time)

Terence Keel, Associate, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies and the UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles

The idea that so-called races reflect inherent biological differences between social groups has been a prominent aspect of Western thought since at least the Enlightenment. While there have been moments of refuting this way of thinking—most notably, the social constructionist thesis emerging as a dominant framework in the aftermath of WWII—fixed biological conceptions of race haunt new genetic technologies, where race is thought to be measurable at the molecular level. Keel argues that the resilience of this naturalized understanding of race may stem less from overtly political motives on the part of scientists and more from our inherited theological traditions that predate the Enlightenment and continue to shape and limit the intellectual horizon of scientific reasoning.

For more information, click here.

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Jackie Kay International Conference

Posted in Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, United Kingdom, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2020-02-13 18:57Z by Steven

Jackie Kay International Conference

Gylphi Contemporary Writers
February 2020

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
2020-05-06
Contact: kay.conference@gylphi.co.uk

Organisers:

Natasha Alden, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary British Fiction
University of Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

Fiona Tolan, Senior Lecturer in English
Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Keynote speaker:

Deidre Osborne, Reader in English Literature and Drama
Goldsmiths, University of London

Jackie Kay is the author of some 30 works, including plays, poetry, prose (fiction and non-fiction), children’s literature, short stories and a ground-breaking novel. She has won or been shortlisted for over 20 literary awards and prizes, including the Guardian Fiction Prize, the inaugural Forward Prize for Poetry for a single poem, the Somerset Maugham Award and the Costa Poetry Award. She is the Scots Makar, professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Chancellor of the University of Salford and a CBE.

Kay’s work is remarkable for its range of genres, its consistent reinvention of forms, and its marriage of intimate, domestic depictions of individual lives with broad political and philosophical themes. In works such as her breakthrough poetry collection, The Adoption Papers (1991), the novel Trumpet (1998) – a path-breaking depiction of trans identity – and the autobiographical Red Dust Road (2010), her publications explore identity, individuality and belonging, and love between family members, lovers and friends. Amongst many other questions, her works asks what Britishness is, what race means, what it is to love, and what gender is, and can be.

This international conference, the first on Kay’s work, brings together scholars from a wide range of literary and cultural studies. The British Council describe Kay as having, over the past two decades, ‘moved from marginal voice to national treasure.’ This conference will examine the work that has marked Kay’s shift from the margins to the centre, addressing a writer whose work has expanded the scope of British literature. We welcome papers on any topic related to Kay’s writing, including, but not limited to:

  • Scottish national identity
  • Autobiography and life writing
  • Black British writing
  • Trans identities
  • Lesbian writing
  • The family
  • Adoption
  • Scottish Women’s writing
  • Black Scottish Writing
  • The impact / legacy of Trumpet
  • Intersections of form (such as music, poetry, fiction, music, dramatic voice)
  • Landscape and place
  • Love
  • Humour
  • The line between life and art

We welcome papers from any disciplines and theoretical perspectives, and from scholars at all career stages, especially ECRs. Please send a title and 300 word abstract for a 20-minute paper, as well as your name, any affiliation, and a 100-word professional biography, to kay.conference@gylphi.co.uk by 6 March 2020.

The conference is sponsored by Gylphi. Selected papers from the conference will be published as Jackie Kay: Critical Essays, with a foreword by Kay, as part of Gylphi’s Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series (Series Editor: Dr Sarah Dillon).

For more information, click here.

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When Stuart Hall was White

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-10 15:22Z by Steven

When Stuart Hall was White

Public Books
2017-01-23

James Vernon, Professor of History
University of California, Berkeley


Dawoud Bey, Stuart Hall (1998)

I do not recall when I discovered that Stuart Hall was black. Growing up in Britain as neoliberalism first began to take shape under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, I found that Hall’s work helped me comprehend what was happening to the world around me. I think I began reading him with “The Great Moving Right Show,” an article published in Marxism Today, the ecumenical and “reform”-minded journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain, in January 1979. It is the piece now celebrated as having named “Thatcherism” as a new political formation. Thatcherism, he argued, represented a new type of politics, one that had mobilized a populist revolt to Make Britain Great Again by running it like a business and stopping immigration. It is strangely unnerving to read it again now. Later that year Hall became a professor of sociology at the Open University and began to appear regularly on its television programs designed (in the era before profit-seeking online classes) for their distance learning, nontraditional, students. It was probably on one of those superb programs, no doubt several years later, that I first saw and heard Stuart Hall.

In retrospect, it is not surprising that I had once assumed Hall was white. Growing up in the countryside as a white middle-class boy, people of color were almost completely absent from my life. I suspect that I was not the only person to imagine he was white. There has long been a way of narrating Hall’s life and work that erases his formation in Jamaica as a colonial subject and a black man. It is a narrative that claims him as part of the British canon, as probably the country’s most influential social and cultural theorist of the late 20th century. It is a narrative that was rehearsed in many of the obituaries that followed his death in 2014.

In this telling, Hall’s life begins when he arrives on the shores of Albion dressed like an English gentleman and goes up to Oxford University to study English literature. It continues with Hall, while writing a PhD on Henry James, beginning to forge, alongside other students there like Raphael Samuel and Charles Taylor, a New Left attuned to the changed social and cultural conditions of Britain in the 1950s. The big question for Britain’s New Left was if or how culture mattered in shaping the working class. For Hall and many of his comrades, the urtexts for thinking through this question were Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957), Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958), and E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963)…

Read the entire article here.

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Andrea Levy, my brilliant friend

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-07 16:02Z by Steven

Andrea Levy, my brilliant friend

The New Statesman
2020-02-05

Gary Younge

Remembering the novelist, one year after her death.

While Bill Mayblin, the novelist Andrea Levy’s widower, was gathering her things for the British Library archive, he came across a red Moleskine book containing a handwritten tale that he’d never seen before.

Entitled “Two”, it is a brief dialogue between two unnamed functionaries working for the Grim Reaper . They are discussing Andrea’s impending death. With a mixture of wry cynicism, callous ambivalence and bureaucratic nonchalance they ponder her admittance, as though standing at a water cooler in a celestial call centre.

I have someone for you.
Good. Male or female?
Female.
Childbirth?
Don’t be silly, we haven’t done childbirth in ages. It’s a bit rare you know.
Around here maybe but not in other parts.
Well, maybe so. But childbirth… no. Cancer.
Breast?
Of course.
I’m not going to have to hang about for ages am I? Only the last one took years.
It’s on. It’s off. Tries my patience.

As a close friend of Andrea’s, who talked with her a lot about the cancer she had and the death that was coming, I found the voices were recognisably hers. She lived with cancer for a decade – long enough for her to joke that she stopped telling people about it because some looked almost disappointed when they bumped into her and found her looking fine…

Read the entire article here.

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Fateful Triangles in Brazil: A Forum on Stuart Hall’s The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation, Part II

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy on 2020-02-03 21:02Z by Steven

Fateful Triangles in Brazil: A Forum on Stuart Hall’s The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation, Part II

Contexto International
Volume 41, Number 2, Rio de Janeiro (May/Aug. 2019)
pages 449-470
DOI: 10.1590/s0102-8529.2019410200012

Sharon A. Stanley, Professor of Political Science
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

João Nackle Urt, Assistant Professor
Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), Dourados-MS, Brazil

Thiago Braz, Ph.D. Candidate
Institute of International Relations
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil

Stuart Hall, a founding scholar in the Birmingham School of cultural studies and eminent theorist of ethnicity, identity and difference in the African diaspora, as well as a leading analyst of the cultural politics of the Thatcher and post-Thatcher years, delivered the W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University in 1994. In the lectures, published after a nearly quarter-century delay as The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation (2017), Hall advances the argument that race, at least in North Atlantic contexts, operates as a ‘sliding signifier,’ such that, even after the notion of a biological essence to race has been widely discredited, race-thinking nonetheless renews itself by essentializing other characteristics such as cultural difference. Substituting Michel Foucault’s famous power-knowledge dyad with power-knowledge-difference, Hall argues that thinking through the fateful triangle of race, ethnicity and nation shows us how discursive systems attempt to deal with human difference.

In ‘Fateful Triangles in Brazil,’ Part II of Contexto Internacional’s forum on The Fateful Triangle, three scholars work with and against Hall’s arguments from the standpoint of racial politics in Brazil. Sharon Stanley argues that Hall’s account of hybrid identity may encounter difficulties in the Brazilian context, where discourses of racial mixture have, in the name of racial democracy, supported anti-black racism. João Nackle Urt investigates the vexed histories of ‘race,’ ‘ethnicity’ and ‘nation’ in reference to indigenous peoples, particularly Brazilian Indians. Finally, Thiago Braz shows, from a perspective that draws on Afro-Brazilian thinkers, that emphasizing the contingency of becoming in the concept of diaspora may ignore the myriad ways by which Afro-diasporic Brazilians are marked as being black, and thus subject to violence and inequality.

Part I of the forum – with contributions by Donna Jones, Kevin Bruyneel and William Garcia – critically examines the promise and potential problems of Hall’s work from the context of North America and western Europe in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter and Brexit.

Read the entire article here.

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Alternate Roots: Ethnicity, Race, and Identity in Genealogy Media

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2020-01-31 20:06Z by Steven

Alternate Roots: Ethnicity, Race, and Identity in Genealogy Media

University Press of Mississippi
June 2018
167 pages
14 b&w illustrations, 2 tables
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496817785
Paperback ISBN: 9781496828224

Christine Scodari, Professor of Media Studies and a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida

How popular media cultivates genealogy but buries its cultural context

In recent years, the media has attributed the increasing numbers of people producing family trees to the aging of baby boomers, a sense of mortality, a proliferation of internet genealogy sites, and a growing pride in ethnicity. A spate of new genealogy-themed television series and internet-driven genetic ancestry testing services have now emerged, capitalizing on the mapping of the human genome in 2003. This genealogical trend poses a need for critical analysis, particularly along the lines of race and ethnicity.

In contextual ways, as she intersperses an account of her own journey chronicling her Italian and Italian American family history, Christine Scodari lays out how family historians can understand intersections involving race and/or ethnicity and other identities inflecting families. Through engagement in and with genealogical texts and practices, such as the classic television series Roots, Ancestry. com, and Henry Louis Gates’s documentaries, Scodari also explains how to interpret their import to historical and ongoing relations of power beyond the family. Perspectives on hybridity and intersectionality gesture toward making connections not only between and among identities, but also between localized findings and broader contexts that might, given only cursory attention, seem tangential to chronicling a family history.

Given current tools, texts, practices, cultural contexts, and technologies, Scodari’s study determines whether a critical genealogy around race, ethnicity, and intersectional identities is viable. She delves into the implications of adoption, orientation, and migration while also investigating her own genealogy, examining the racial, ethnic experiences of her forebears and positioning them within larger, cross-cultural contexts.

There is little research on genealogical media in relation to race and ethnicity. Thus, Scodari blends cultural studies, critical media studies, and her own genealogy as a critical pursuit to interrogate issues bound up in the nuts-and-bolts of engaging in family history.

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Rediscovering Frank Yerby: Critical Essays

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, United States on 2020-01-31 19:21Z by Steven

Rediscovering Frank Yerby: Critical Essays

University Press of Mississippi
2020-05-15
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496827821
Paperback ISBN: 9781496827838

Edited by:

Matthew Teutsch, Director, Lillian E. Smith Center
Piedmont College, Demorest, Georgia

The first book-length sounding of the major contributions of the first black American novelist to sell more than a million copies

Contributions by Catherine L. Adams, Stephanie Brown, Gene Andrew Jarrett, John Wharton Lowe, Guirdex Massé, Anderson Rouse, Matthew Teutsch, Donna-lyn Washington, and Veronica T. Watson

Rediscovering Frank Yerby: Critical Essays is the first book-length study of Yerby’s life and work. The collection explores a myriad of topics, including his connections to the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances; readership and reception; representations of masculinity and patriotism; film adaptations; and engagement with race, identity, and religion. The contributors to this collection work to rectify the misunderstandings of Yerby’s work that have relegated him to the sidelines and, ultimately, begin a reexamination of the importance of “the prince of pulpsters” in American literature.

It was Robert Bone, in The Negro Novel in America, who infamously dismissed Frank Yerby (1916–1991) as “the prince of pulpsters. ” Like Bone, many literary critics at the time criticized Yerby’s lack of focus on race and the stereotypical treatment of African American characters in his books. This negative labeling continued to stick to Yerby even as he gained critical success, first with The Foxes of Harrow, the first novel by an African American to sell more than a million copies, and later as he began to publish more political works like Speak Now and The Dahomean.

However, the literary community cannot continue to ignore Frank Yerby and his impact on American literature. More than a fiction writer, Yerby should be put in conversation with such contemporaneous writers as Richard Wright, Dorothy West, James Baldwin, William Faulkner, Margaret Mitchell, and more.

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The Black Butterfly: Brazilian Slavery and the Literary Imagination

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2020-01-31 18:13Z by Steven

The Black Butterfly: Brazilian Slavery and the Literary Imagination

West Virginia University Press
October 2019
360 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-949199-03-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-949199-02-4
eBook ISBN: 978-1-949199-04-8

Marcus Wood, Professor of English
University of Sussex

The Black Butterfly focuses on the slavery writings of three of Brazil’s literary giants—Machado de Assis, Castro Alves, and Euclides da Cunha. These authors wrote in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as Brazil moved into and then through the 1888 abolition of slavery. Assis was Brazil’s most experimental novelist; Alves was a Romantic poet with passionate liberationist politics, popularly known as “the poet of the slaves”; and da Cunha is known for the masterpiece Os Sertões (The Backlands), a work of genius that remains strangely neglected in the scholarship of transatlantic slavery.

Wood finds that all three writers responded to the memory of slavery in ways that departed from their counterparts in Europe and North America, where emancipation has typically been depicted as a moment of closure. He ends by setting up a wider literary context for his core authors by introducing a comparative study of their great literary abolitionist predecessors Luís Gonzaga Pinto da Gama and Joaquim Nabuco. The Black Butterfly is a revolutionary text that insists Brazilian culture has always refused a clean break between slavery and its aftermath. Brazilian slavery thus emerges as a living legacy subject to continual renegotiation and reinvention.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Castro Alves, O Navio Negreiro, and a New Poetics of the Middle Passage
  • 2. Castro Alves, Voices of Africa, and the Paulo Affonso Falls: From African Monologic Propopeia to Brazilian Plantation Anti-Pastoral
  • 3. Obscure Agency: Machado de Assis Framing Black Servitudes
  • 4. “The child is father to the man”: Bad Big Daddy and the Dilemmas of Planter Patriarchy in Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas
  • 5. Magnifying Signifying Silence: Afro-Brazilians and Slavery in Euclides da Cunha, Os Sertões
  • 6. After-Words and After-Worlds: Freyre, Llosa, Slavery and the Cultural Inheritance of Os Sertões
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Index
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