POUGHKEEPSIE, NY— This fall the Program in American Culture at Vassar College will sponsor two events. The first lecture, on Thursday, October 7, at 6:30pm in Taylor Hall, room 203, features literary and cultural scholar Brent Edwards discussing “More Ways to Do the Charleston: Black Paris, Cabaret Performance, and the Mood of Distance.” The second presentation, the annual John Christie lecture on Thursday, November 4, at 5:00 pm in the Taylor Hall, room 203, will be given by American studies scholar Eva Cherniavsky, who will discuss “American Studies after the American Century.” Both events are free and open to the public.
Thursday, October 7, 6:30pm In his lecture, Edwards will revisit the complex and vibrant milieu of African American performers in Paris in the 1920s. Rather than focusing on the celebrated figures who have dominated discussions of black Paris (above all, Josephine Baker), he will draw our attention to the important but now largely forgotten small nightclubs and cabarets run by black expatriates in Montmartre.
Taylor Hall, room 203
Lecture by Brent Edwards: “More Ways to Do the Charleston: Black Paris, Cabaret Performance, and the Mood of Distance”
Brent Edwards is professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, where he is affiliated with the Center for Jazz Studies. He is the author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard UP, 2003), which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, and was runner-up for the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association. He co-edited the collection Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia UP, 2004), and has published essays and articles on topics including African American literature, Francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, black radical intellectuals, cultural politics in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism, 20th-century poetics, and jazz.
His translations include essays, poems, and fiction by authors including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Sony Labou Tansi, and Monchoachi. He is co-editor of the journal Social Text, and serves on the editorial boards of Transition and Callaloo. He is currently working on two book projects: a translation of Michel Leiris's 1934 classic l'Afrique fantome and a cultural history of "loft jazz" in downtown New York in the 1970s.
Thursday, November 4, 5:00pm
Taylor Hall, room 203
The annual John Christie Lecture delivered by Eva Cherniavsky: “American Studies after the American Century”
Eva Cherniavsky is Andrew R. Hilen Professor of American Literature and Culture and affiliated faculty in Women’s Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of That Pale Mother Rising: Sentimental Discourses and the Imitation of Motherhood in 19th-Century America (Indiana University Press, 1995) and of Incorporations: Race, Nation, and the Body Politics of Capital (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). Her essays on topics concerning gender, race, and nation; sentiment; visual culture; subaltern studies; and citizenship have appeared in Genders, boundary 2, Feminist Studies, GLQ, Cultural Critique, Angelaki, and Social Text. Her current research considers the changing contours of the political in the context of neoliberal governance, with an emphasis on the re-imagination of citizenship in popular culture.
Each year the Program in American Culture presents the John Aldrich Christie lecture, a celebration of the legacy of Vassar professor and Thoreau scholar John Christie's contribution to the College and legendary Vassar English professor Helen Lockwood's bequest to the College to establish a multidisciplinary program “to pioneer in the reinterpretation and deepening of a liberal education.”
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.