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Margo Natalie Crawford, “This Flesh That We Might Call Diaspora”

Monday, March 23, 2015 - 2:45pm

Toboggan Lodge, Cornell University
ICM New Conversations Series

Associate Professor, English, Cornell University

Fred Moten, echoing Hortense Spillers, describes the flesh created through the middle passage as “this flesh that we might call a body.” Crawford proposes that the “fleshwork” of black diasporic feminism recasts the political as the process of imagining the unimaginable. We often think that black bodies will be fully liberated when the bodies are no longer politicized, but Richard Iton’s theory of the black fantastic pushes past the sense that the state of non-politicized bodies is the goal, as if we are only struggling with erasing the ideology that has been written on black bodies. Iton pushes us to the illegible work of resistance and struggle performed as black subjects reanimate the overwritten black body and denaturalize the notion that political resistance cannot be tied to pleasure and play. This lecture is situated at the crossroads of 21st century African and African American women’s cultural productions. Crawford shows a black diasporic feminist urge to pay tribute to black women’s seizure of their right to animate flesh and to practice a type of proud flesh that is too excessive for normative texts of black feminism.

Margo Natalie Crawford is the author of Dilution Anxiety (2008) and the coeditor of New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (2006). She is an associate professor of African American literature and global black studies in the Department of English at Cornell University. Her essays appear in a wide range of books and journals, including The Trouble With Post-BlacknessWant to Start a Revolution?The Modernist PartyThe Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Post-1945CallalooAmerican LiteratureBlack Renaissance NoireBlack Camera, Publishing Blackness, and the exhibition catalog for the 2013 AfriCOBRA exhibit at the DuSable Museum. She has recently completed a manuscript entitled Black Post-Blackness: the Black Arts Movement and 21st Century Black Aesthetics. Her works in progress include What is African American Literature? and a coedited volume, Global Black Consciousness. She is on the editorial board of the Society for Textual Scholarship, the James Baldwin Review, and the Wiley Blackwell Anthology of African American Literature.

This event is open and free to the public.

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