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Black Meet Brown: James Baldwin’s European Essays
September 20 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2021-2022)
Associate Professor of English, UW–Madison
Once declared the “Prophet of the 20th century,” African American author James Baldwin remains the timeless subject of books, articles, and tweets. His eloquent meditations on how it feels to be a stranger in one’s own country explain his renaissance in our Black Lives Matter era. Although his writing deals mainly with American legacies of slavery and puritanism, his ideas on what it means to be an American are intimately connected with his encounters with Africans during his French exile. In this talk, I analyze his essays penned between 1950 and 1972 to account for his evolving relationship to what he once called “the mysterious continent” of Africa.
Laila Amine is associate professor of Global Black Literatures in the English Department at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focuses on post-1945 narratives of migration, including African Americans in Europe and Africa. She is the author of Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of Intimacy in the City of Light (2018) and articles that appeared in American Literature, College Literature, and Culture, Theory, and Critique as well as edited volumes on Paris and Diaspora literary studies. Her book in progress, Return Travel: The African Diaspora Across Genres of Mobility is supported by a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Spring 2021) and an Andrew Mellow Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin (Fall 2020).