November 2019 Anthony Bogues
Title: Black Critique: Working through an Alternative Genealogy of Critical Thought
This talk will posit that there is a distinctive tradition of Black critique which not only reworks some of the formal categories of Western thought about race but creates new grounds for rethinking questions of history, freedom, the human, alienation and commodification. Working with thinkers like Sylvia Wynter and Frantz Fanon as well as the art works of Haitian artists Edouard Duval – Carrie and Andre Pierre, the talk will grapple with how new ways of thinking are configured in a radical African diasporic tradition of critique.
Bio: Anthony Bogues is a writer, scholar and curator and the Asa Messer Professor of Humanities and Critical Theory at Brown University. He is the inaugural director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University and the author / editor of 8 books in the fields of political thought, intellectual history and Caribbean art, literature, culture and history. He has curated shows in the USA, South Africa and the Caribbean and is a visiting professor and curator at the University of Johannesburg. He is the convener of the project: The Imagined New: Black Archaeologies of the Nowand the co-convener with the National African Museum of History and Culture of the project, InSlavery’s Wake. He is currently completing a manuscript titled. Black Critique and a monograph on the Haitian artist, Andre Pierre as well as working on two major art exhibition projects on Haitian Art. Along with a group of Brown graduate students he is collectively editing Sylvia Wynter’s magnum opus, Black Metamorphosis for publication. He is a member of the scientific committee of the Centre d’Art in Port Au Prince, Haiti.
October 2019 Peter Hulme
Drums over Harlem: Signifying Africa, 1919-1932
In the 1920s in New York the jazz cabaret was seen as offering what the writer Eric Walrond called “Africa undraped”, and its sound was the tom-tom. This talk will explore the period’s fascination with that instrument and with what it might signify, focusing on two texts entitled Tom-Tom, both of which offer to associate contemporary Harlem with “Africa”, in one or another of its manifestations.
Peter Hulme is Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex, where he taught for 40 years. His books include Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492 1797 (1986), Cuba’s Wild East: A Literary Geography of Oriente (2011), and The Dinner at Gonfarone’s: Salomón de la Selva’s Pan-American Project in Nueva York, 1915-1919 (2019).
September 2019 Kenda Mutongi
Kenda Mutongi teaches a wide range of courses in African history, world history, and gender history. She is the author of two award-winning books: Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (Chicago UP, 2017) and Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in Kenya (Chicago UP, 2007). She has also published several articles in the major African studies journals, and is currently writing a book tentatively titled, Reading Under the Covers, which focuses on the history of secondary schooling in post-colonial Kenya.
Mutongi has been an MLK Visiting Professor of History at MIT, a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam. She has also received grants from the NEH, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Mutongi serves on the editorial boards of several journals and book series in African Studies. Before moving to MIT in 2019, Mutongi taught at Williams College for over 22 years, where she served as chair of the Africana Studies and the Africa/Middle Eastern Studies Programs.
Mutongi was born and raised in rural western Kenya, and received her BA from Coe College and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. She enjoys cooking, sewing, and painting.