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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
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The stories behind Egyptian mummies in museums
Author:

Two mummies buried in a museum garden … a coffin that rotates … skulls amassed for dubious research … What if the most interesting stories about Egyptian mummies are not the ones you know?

Mummified explores the curious, unsettling and controversial stories of the Egyptian mummies held by museums in France and Britain. From powdered mummies consumed as medicine, to mummies unrolled in public, dissected for race studies and DNA-tested in modern laboratories, there is a lot more to these ancient human remains than meets the eye. Following mummies on their journeys from Egypt to museums and private collections in Paris, London, Leicester and Manchester, the book revisits the history of these bodies that have fascinated Europeans for so long.

Mummified explores stories of life and death, of collecting and viewing, and of interactions – sometimes violent and sometimes moving – that raise questions about the essence of what makes us human.

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.

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
Substance, symbols, and hope
Author:

The election of Barack Obama was a milestone in US history with tremendous symbolic importance for the black community. But was this symbolism backed up by substance? Did ordinary black people really benefit under the first black president?

This is the question that Andra Gillespie sets out to answer in Race and the Obama Administration. Using a variety of methodological techniques—from content analysis of executive orders to comparisons of key indicators, such as homeownership and employment rates under Clinton, Bush, and Obama— the book charts the progress of black causes and provides valuable perspective on the limitations of presidential power in addressing issues of racial inequality. Gillespie uses public opinion data to investigate the purported disconnect between Obama’s performance and his consistently high ratings among black voters, asking how far the symbolic power of the first black family in the White House was able to compensate for the compromises of political office.

Scholarly but accessible, Race and the Obama Administration will be of interest to students and lecturers in US politics and race studies, as well as to general readers who want to better understand the situation of the black community in the US today and the prospects for its improvement.

Playing black in late seventeenth-century France and Spain
Noémie Ndiaye

This chapter examines the emergence and significance of the theatregram of the African ambassador in 1660s French theatre, in plays like Le Mort Vivant, by Edmé Boursault (1662), L’Ambassadeur d’Affrique, by Du Perche (1666), Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière (1670), and Le Mariage de la reine de Monomotapa by Bel-Isle (1682). Reading this theatregram in conversation with contemporary policies in the French Caribbean colonies, I argue that African ambassadors on stage contributed to the development and dissemination of a solidifying racial discourse in late seventeenth-century France. A thorough examination of the transnational component in Boursault’s play, more specifically, of the play’s all-out and multilayered Spanishness, brings to light the play’s ambivalence towards the notion of hybridity. The internal evolution of the theatregram between 1662 and 1682, however, marks a departure from Boursault’s take: the later plays of the African ambassador corpus are devoid of such ideological ambivalence. This denotes a hardening of racial thinking over the course of those twenty years. Ultimately, that approach promotes the integration of transnational foci and comparative methods into early modern race studies.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Angela Stienne

deeply rooted in a colonial and racist rhetoric. From the eugenicist theories of one of the world’s most famous archaeologists, whose museum is located inside University College London (UCL), to fiction writing and major documentaries that encourage the theories that aliens built the pyramids, to museums removing their historical links to race studies, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are seeing

in Mummified
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
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
Author:

This book recounts the little-known history of the mixed-race children born to black American servicemen and white British women during the Second World War. Of the three million American soldiers stationed in Britain from 1942 to 1945, about 8 per cent (240,000) were African-American; the latter’s relationships with British women resulted in the birth of an estimated 2,000 babies. The African-American press named these children ‘brown babies’; the British called them ‘half-castes’. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry their white girlfriends. Up to half of the mothers of these babies, faced with the stigma of illegitimacy and a mixed-race child, gave their children up for adoption. The outcome for these children tended to be long-term residency in children’s homes, sometimes followed by fostering and occasionally adoption, but adoption societies frequently would not take on ‘coloured’ children, who were thought to be ‘too hard to place’. There has been minimal study of these children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. Accessibly written and illustrated with numerous photographs, this book presents the stories of over forty of these children. While some of the accounts of early childhood are heart-breaking, there are also many uplifting narratives of finding American fathers and gaining a sense of self and of heritage.