Spring 2018

All events are open to the public.

January 24 | 4:30-6:00 | Rabb Room
"Mortevivum: Black Photography and Politics of the Visual"
Kimberly Juanita Brown

In this public lecture, Kimberly Juanita Brown will speak about the site of the visual as a way to negotiate the parameters of race, gender, and belonging. Drawing from her current research, Brown will discuss images of the dead from four geographies: South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, and Haiti, observing that a cartography of the ocular exists in documentary images to normalize global violence, particularly if the victims are black.

January 31 | 5:00-7:00 | Alumnae Lounge
"Readings from The Blue Clerk, ars poetica"
Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand will read from her latest book, The Blue Clerk (McClelland & Stewart and Duke UP, 2018). Dionne Brand is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist, whose award-winning works include Land to Light On, Ossuaries, Inventory, What We All Long For, and A Map to the Door of No Return, which have been widely taken up in scholarship on Being in the Black Diaspora.

February 13 | 4:30-6:00 | Alumnae Lounge
"Marvelous Extinctions: Melville on Animal Suffering"
Branka Arsic
In this public lecture, Branka Arsic examines the understanding of rational and irrational life forms in 19th century biology and literature. She begins with remarks Melville left in his Encantadas concerning the Galapagos tortoises, and goes on to examine the scientific and historical archives to which he had recourse, from Cuvier and Broderip to Porter and Delano. She seeks to reconstruct exactly what, in the early 19th century, prompted scientists, doctors and naturalists, as well as traders and ordinary seamen, to obsess about the tortoise as life form, one that was brought to the brink of extinction by the middle of the century. She argues that the reason why both physiologists in Continental scientific laboratories, and whalers traversing Antillean waters in trade ships, chose this particular animal to answer the question of what life is, derived from their ideas about what constituted pain, suffering and cruelty. By rehearsing such debates over the presumed expressions of suffering, apathy and indifference on the part of the tortoise, Arsic suggests that what scientists understood as apathy towards pain licensed the production of a bizarre taxonomy of life forms based on a creaturely capacity to resist violence.

February 14 | 12:00-1:30 | CHAT Conference Room
Seminar: "Science, Grief, and Vitalism"
Branka Arsic
In this CHAT seminar, Professor Arsic will discuss her work on science, vitalism, mourning, and literature in her book Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau (2016) and in her larger body of work. Participation is limited; please contact Lisa Lowe, CHAT Director, if you would like to obtain the readings to participate in this seminar.

February 21 | 4:30-6:30 | Rabb Room
"Public Amnesias"
Kendra Field, Kerri Greenidge, Aditi Mehta, James Rice

In this public roundtable, panelists discuss the ways that identifying "amnesias" – as dynamic omissions in the narratives of experience – can operationalize critique and activism. Panelists will discuss "forgetting" in sites that include the histories of African-descended and Native families and communities, environmental catastrophes, and as borders of academic disciplines. These inquiries and their implications have a considerable trajectory, extending from the Tufts campus and Boston area to broader regional and transnational locations.

March 7 | 4:30-6:00 | CHAT Conference Room
"Chinese Surplus: Race and Value in Plastinated Cadaver Exhibits"
Ari Heinrich

Western media often level accusations of human rights abuse when addressing the Chinese origins of plastinated cadavers in popular traveling exhibits. But conventional human rights discourse can sometimes obscure the underlying political economics of race and labor that directly inform a lucrative and deeply historicized market in surplus Chinese bodies worldwide. In this public lecture, Ari Heinrich compares representations of Chinese identity and human rights in English-language and Chinese-language media treatments of popular plastinated cadaver exhibits through about 2004.

March 9 | 12:00-3:00 | location TBA
"Sound Matters"
Nina Eidsheim

Nina Eidsheim will present the keynote lecture at this interdisciplinary campus-wide symposium on sound studies, which explores how we think about sound, music, and listening in musicology, theatre and performance studies, engineering, literary studies, and art history.

March 13 | 2:00-6:00 | Alumnae Lounge
"The Practice of Diaspora: 15 Years Later"
Brent Hayes Edwards

Brent Hayes Edwards will present the keynote lecture at this afternoon symposium marking the 15 year anniversary of his book,The Practice of Diaspora. Two panels, featuring papers by Adam Lewis, Marina Bilbija, Tzarina Prater and Kelly Josephs, will consider the book’s influence on discussions of diaspora, print culture, cultural politics, and Black internationalism.

April 18 | 5:00-7:00 | CHAT Conference Room
"The Work of Reading"
In this roundtable, literary scholars will draw from a variety of theoretical approaches to conceptualize the object of the book and central dynamic practice of reading.