James Baldwin’s Global Imagination

JAMES BALDWIN’S GLOBAL IMAGINATION

a multi-site conference event

February 17 to 20, Thursday to Sunday
various times

Contact baldwinconference@gmail.com for information

For conference schedule, locations and other details, click HERE (pdf format).

Staged in the context of global economic insecurity, a planet gripped by the ravages of war and climate change, ever-increasing gaps in wealth, as well as rampant fundamentalism (East and West), “James Baldwin’s Global Imagination” is intended as an examination of globality not simply as a matter of demography but as an urgent call to re-consider the contemporary utility of Baldwin’s expansive injunction to William Faulkner (and, in fact, to us all), “[t]hat any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.” These proceedings are thus proposed as an opportunity to take seriously Baldwin’s consistent and insistent proposal that categories of difference represent an early misnaming, a dangerous and cowardly misrecognition of the moral imagination required to confront not only our mortality but also the brutal legacies of our collective histories.

Taking Baldwin’s vision as our starting point, this conference aims, among other related concerns, to make legible the continued impacts of U.S. state racism in this putatively post-racial period. In this post-Civil Rights epoch saturated by disorienting fictions of progress circulating alongside the vulgar traffic in difference that characterizes much of late-capitalist popular consumption, critical appraisals of such processes are timely and necessary. This orienting intellectual posture illuminates the continued structural and identitarian restraints which remain the most dominant features of global life, and has particular implications for policy-making, interdisciplinary scholarship, as well as twenty-first century conceptions of the self that refuse the false, or, more precisely, rigid, character of borders and disciplines.

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About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at Ms.blog, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

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