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Between “Stranger in the Village” and I Am Not Your Negro
Jovita dos Santos Pinto
Noémi Michel
Patricia Purtschert
Paola Bacchetta
, and
Vanessa Naef

James Baldwin’s writing, his persona, as well as his public speeches, interviews, and discussions are undergoing a renewed reception in the arts, in queer and critical race studies, and in queer of color movements. Directed by Raoul Peck, the film I Am Not Your Negro decisively contributed to the rekindled circulation of Baldwin across the Atlantic. Since 2017, screenings and commentaries on the highly acclaimed film have prompted discussions about the persistent yet variously racialized temporospatial formations of Europe and the U.S. Stemming from a roundtable that followed a screening in Zurich in February 2018, this collective essay wanders between the audio-visual and textual matter of the film and Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village,” which was also adapted into a film-essay directed by Pierre Koralnik, staging Baldwin in the Swiss village of Leukerbad. Privileging Black feminist, postcolonial, and queer of color perspectives, we identify three sites of Baldwin’s transatlantic reverberations: situated knowledge, controlling images, and everyday sexual racism. In conclusion, we reflect on the implications of racialized, sexualized politics for today’s Black feminist, queer, and trans of color movements located in continental Europe—especially in Switzerland and France.

James Baldwin Review
Mobilising affect in feminist, queer and anti-racist media cultures

The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.


This ground-breaking book analyses premodern whiteness as operations of fragility, precarity and racialicity across bodily and nonsomatic figurations. It examines works such as The Book of the Duchess, Pearl, The King of Tars and others, arguing that while whiteness participates crucially in the history of racialisation in the late medieval West, it does not denote or connote skin tone alone. Deploying diverse methodologies, the book asks how premodern whiteness as a representational trope both produces and delimits a range of medieval ideological regimes: courtly love and beauty, masculine subjectivity, Christian salvation, chivalric prowess, labour and consumption, social ethics or racialised European identity. The ‘before’ of whiteness, presupposing essence and teleology, is less a retro-futuristic temporisation – one that simultaneously looks backward and faces forward – than a discursive figuration of how white becomes whiteness. Fragility delineates the limits of ruling ideologies in performances of mourning as self-defence against perceived threats to subjectivity and desire; precarity registers the ruptures within normative values by foregrounding the unmarked vulnerability of the body politic and the violence of cultural aestheticisation; and racialicity attends to the politics of recognition and the technologies of enfleshment at the systemic edge of life and nonlife, of periodisation and of racial embodiment. If whiteness has hardened into an identity politics defined by skin tone alone, this book argues that it has not always been so. Operations of whiteness may generate differences that fabricate, structure and connect the social world, but these operative differences of whiteness are never transparent, stable or permanent.

Meghji Ali

This chapter brings the book to a conclusion. I review the contributions this book makes to studies of the Black middle class, critical race theory, cultural sociology, and race and class more broadly. I also examine how my research can open up new studies in cultural sociology, critical race studies, and international perspectives on the Black middle class. The book also reflects on the theme of the book series: racism, resistance, and social change, where I argue that a growth in a Black middle class does not mean there is growing racial equality in Britain.

in Black middle class Britannia
Katariina Kyrölä

 –​or safer –​spaces online. The point of departure for this chapter is my own initial doubt, even confusion, about trigger warnings. As a feminist media scholar long involved in interrogating ‘bad feelings’, and convinced they serve a purpose in  30 30 Vulnerability as a battleground challenging unjust power structures (Kyrölä, 2015; 2017), I felt such warnings ring disconcertingly of avoidance –​and it seems that this point of departure is shared by most feminist, queer and critical race studies scholars who have participated in the public debate so far. However

in The power of vulnerability
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Operational whiteness
Wan-Chuan Kao

depends on this metaphysics being kept firmly in place’. 97 Povinelli’s theory of biontology resonates uncannily with the historiography of premodern critical race studies since the late twentieth century. 98 Hahn, for instance, has argued that medieval race is ‘constituted by religion, geopolitics, physiognomy, [and] color’. 99 To Cohen, medieval race involves but is

in White before whiteness in the late Middle Ages
Anu Koivunen
Katariina Kyrölä
, and
Ingrid Ryberg

(2016) have critiqued the move to redefine vulnerability in contradistinction to victimisation, since if victims are not seen as victims this may inadvertently feed into politics which does not prioritise changing injustices. Cole suggests, furthermore, that there needs to be a clear distinction between those that are injurable and those who are already injured. Expectedly, many feminist, queer, and critical race studies scholars have turned to other or nearby concepts instead of vulnerability to address the tensions between injury and power. Butler herself has, for

in The power of vulnerability
Sharon Kinoshita

dissemination has several consequences. If in the late nineteenth century the Chanson de Roland became a lieu de mémoire for a precocious French nationalism, since the late 1990s it has become another kind of lieu de mémoire for a medieval studies inflected by postcolonial theory and Critical Race studies. 25 In some essays by prominent medievalists, the Roland has become the go-to text for scholars wishing to underscore the medieval roots of modern racism or the intransigence of the poem's binary construction of

in Bestsellers and masterpieces
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Why queer(y) citizenship?
Zalfa Feghali

towards more impactful and inclusive conclusions and policies. As well as its engagement with studies of reading, this book works to hemispherically connect contemporary border studies, Indigenous studies and the politics of recognition, critical race studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, and reception and audience theories.22 Bringing these separate but related fields together to examine work by authors whose writing contests and resists claims by a particular national context (in this case, the United States or Canada) works to reframe our understanding of what

in Crossing borders and queering citizenship
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Cora Fox
Bradley J. Irish
, and
Cassie M. Miura

embodiment are being reframed at the events convening BIPOC scholars around a focus on ‘RaceB4Race’ supported by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and taking place at institutions across the United States. In particular, there is exciting work emerging at the intersection of early modern critical race studies and affect theory, which will be highlighted in a forthcoming volume generated by the 2019 Shakespeare Association of America session on ‘Race and/as Affect’ edited by Carol Mejia

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture