Direkt zum InhaltDirekt zur SucheDirekt zur Navigation
▼ Zielgruppen ▼

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Social Sciences | Comparative Political Sciences and Political Systems of Eastern Europe | Robert F. Reid-Pharr: Equal(ity) in Paris: James Baldwin and the Politics of Exile

Robert F. Reid-Pharr: Equal(ity) in Paris: James Baldwin and the Politics of Exile

When May 18, 2021 from 06:45 to 07:45 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200) iCal
Where Online
Contact Name

Re-reading James Baldwin’s writing about the nine years (1948 – 1957) that he spent in Europe, especially his 1955 essay, “Equal in Paris”, Robert Reid-Pharr argues against Baldwin’s tendency to privilege the place-based specificity of American and especially African American culture.  Baldwin regularly described himself as an alien to both Europe and Africa. Moreover, he was well aware of the criticisms of expatriate African American artists, particularly Richard Wright, that their time abroad separated them from black tradition, robbing them of their ability to represent their people’s genius. For his part, however, Reid-Pharr makes the simple counterargument that Baldwin’s career (and his worldwide success) was itself an emanation of the quick paced development of international economic, communications, and cultural structures that allowed for the birth of what has now come to be known as “World Literature”.  Further, though Baldwin writes passionately about his boyhood in Harlem, the truth is that that community, physically situated in the dead center of Manhattan Island, was—and is—itself a place of remarkable cultural exchange between many different peoples.  Indeed like the Left Bank of Paris where Baldwin spent most of his years abroad, Harlem was largely a community of travelers and immigrants (including Baldwin’s parents) who did not so much transplant an inviolate black culture from the south as fashion new forms of “world culture” that built upon traditions born in Afro-America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. 

 

Robert F. Reid-Pharr is Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and a Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

 

The event is part of the lecture series Landscapes of Equality and is hosted in cooperation with The American Academy in Berlin. It will take place online, registration via lsi(at)rewi.hu-berlin.de.