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  • 05
    MAR

    “Interracial Family Memoirs: Claiming Kinship across the Color Line.”

    Cedric Essi, lecturer at University of Bremen, discusses the political and aesthetic strategies by which memoirs from the 1990s on strive to render interracial kinship visible and legitimate in the public sphere. Please join us!

    For more than 300 years, familial relations between white and black Americans were stigmatized, denied, and criminalized. While the US Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia in 1967 marks the moment interracial families became legitimate on paper, the turn of the twenty-first century represents a paradigm shift toward cultural legitimization. Prominently, this shift registered in Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign which translated his interracial family background from a longstanding taboo into the alleged fulfillment of America as a mythological melting pot. This talk takes stock of the role of memoir production within this larger cultural transformation. From the 1990s onward, one could witness the emergence of manifold autobiographical works that claim public recognition of interracial families. These range from bestseller memoirs such as Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father (1995/2004) and Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry volume Native Guard (2006) to documentaries like Lacy Schwarz’s Little White Lie (2014). Cedric Essi subsumes these works under the umbrella term ‘interracial family memoirs’ and traces the political and aesthetic strategies by which these works strive to render interracial kinship visible and legitimate in the public sphere.

     --Cedric Essi, Lecturer in American Studies, University of Bremen, hosted by English and Comparative Literature.

    Time and place

    When: 05/03/19 at 14:30-16:00

    What: Higher seminar

    Where: Room PA 239, on the second floor in the Primus-building, Södertörn University, Campus Flemingsberg

    Organiser: English and Comparative Literature at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University

    Event language: English