The “Problematics of Culture and Theory” Seminar, held by the School of English at Aristotle University, will be hosting a talk by Dr Maria Lauret (Visiting Professor of American literature and Culture at the University of Sussex) on Thursday, November 3rd, at 2 pm. This will be a hybrid event. It will be held on-site in room 112 (old Philosophy building), and attendance will also be available online via the zoom platform. The title of the talk is:
African American literature, BlackLivesMatter and the Hip Hop Aesthetic
African American literature today can be characterised as a literature of mourning. This is a mourning for Black lives lost to police and white vigilante gun violence, as well as the 'slow violence' of ill health, poverty and other forms of deprivation. In novel after essay after memoir after poem, we find lists of names of the victims to such violence-- of which George Floyd's is only one, albeit the best-known. Obviously, the connection African American writers today are making in their inclusion of such lists of names in their work is that between Black literature and the movement for racial justice that has come to be known as hashtag BlackLivesMatter. In so doing, they follow in the footsteps of what Black musicians have been doing for decades: they use their art in support of social movements whose objectives they share. One of the most powerful of these writers is the essayist and memoirist Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose memoir Between the World and Me has won awards and quickly became a best-seller when it was first published in 2015. As well as frequently referencing hip hop in his writing, Coates' style is characterised by a mode of intertextuality that can be theorised as a hip hop aesthetic. Both the power of his message and the way in which it is conveyed are thus deeply rooted in African American music and exemplify the way the literature of 21st C African American writers connects with that of their forebears in Civil Rights and the Black Arts Movement.
All those interested in attending via zoom, please submit the relevant registration form. The zoom link details for the event will be sent by email on the eve of the talk to all those who have registered for online participation.
Problematics Seminar Coordinators:
GUEST SPEAKER BIO
Dr. Maria Lauret
Visiting Professor of American literature and Culture at the University of Sussex
Maria Lauret is Visiting Professor of American literature and Culture at the University of Sussex, where she taught American Studies from 1995 until 2021. Her publications on African American literature include the monograph Alice Walker (Palgrave MacMillan 2000 and second edition 2011); the introduction and African American section of Beginning Ethnic American Literatures, containing essays on Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor and Ishmael Reed (Manchester UP 2001) and recent journal articles on Teju Cole and on Ta-Nehisi Coates. She is currently writing a new monograph for a general audience on African American Literature in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter.
Teju Cole: Public Intellectual https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14788810.2020.1847543
Populism and Dog Whistle Writing: J.D. Vance and Ta-Nehisi Coates https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00138398.2020.1780761?utm_medium=email&utm_source=EmailStudio_JB&utm_campaign=JME00766_4061312