Zora Neale Hurston’s “Barracoon”

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Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” by Zora Neale Hurston was considered too incendiary a work to publish when it was written in the 1930s. It was based on the interviews Hurston conducted with Oluale Kossula (or Cudjo Lewis) the last survivor of the last slave ship. Now after all this time, the book has been published for mass circulation. Marty is joined by the book’s editor, DEBORAH PLANTan African American literature scholar, and AUTUMN WOMACK, assistant professor of African American Studies and English at Princeton University to discuss the book’s history, Kossula’s story, and what we can learn from the words of America’s last known survivor of the transatlantic slave trade. Philadelphia-based actor JOHNNIE HOBBS, Jr. also reads poignant moments from the book.

Stuart Hall: In Conversations

Imani Perry is a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. In this conversation with University of Texas Sociology Professor Ben Carrington, Perry discusses Hall’s work as foundational for her own intellectual trajectory as a cultural theorist.

Likewise, Perry addresses Hall’s relevance for understanding a U.S. context by noting that the questions Hall asks around political economy, the rise of neoliberalism, race, class, and culture are important for making sense of what is happening in the United States because “we are all grappling with legacies of empire and capitalism and racialization.”

Perry argues that although we see different iterations of these issues as they move around the world, Hall’s theorizing is prescient for making sense of questions of globalization. The conversation also addresses Hall as a model for being a public intellectual who neither postures nor self-aggrandizes but rather is about conversation and engagement with and a responsibility to different public.

Carrington and Perry discuss how Hall’s work is useful for understanding not only Brexit, but also the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. Perry explains that she understands these issues as part of an “anxiety about the growth of precarity, globalization, and neoliberalism, and the kind of vulnerability that [these issues] produce for whiteness,” as well as an appeal for a return to conventional imperial relations. Hall’s work, which addresses the intersection of historical forces that produce these anxieties, helps us to think about these issues, although he does not necessarily give us the answers. Hall provides a model for how to read the world around us ethically.

-Maggie Tate

All conversations in the Stuart Hall: In Conversations series with Ben Carrington can be found here

What it Means to be an American

“Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed.”

That’s from Langston Hughes’s poem, “Let America Be America Again.”

MPR News Host Kerri Miller asked intellectuals, artists and musicians and activists to speak about what it means to be an American. Professor Eddic Glaude participated in the series.

Every conversation in the series kicked off with this iconic line, and expanded in new directions.

 

“There’s something about the South that is so fundamentally American. Right? That the soil is soaked with the blood of our contradiction. That the region is haunted. And it’s haunted by its past and present. And so you have this amazing civility. The smile. Southern hospitality is real. Once you cross over into my home state people are smiling.”

“I went to Bozos, this wonderful seafood place, Kerri, when I was home for my homecoming recently. I usually go home to take my mama to the fair. And I came home a week early and I was going to get me this wonderful 12-inch seafood po’ boy. And I walk into this place, and this real grisly, stereotypical southern white man says, ‘Hey, don’t I see you on television?’ And I said yes. And he said, ‘Boy, you look as good in person as you do on television.’ And then he said, “I don’t agree with much of what you say, but keep saying it.” -Eddie Glaude Jr.

Glaude grew up in Mississippi. He is now a Professor of Religion at Princeton where he chairs the Department of African American Studies. His newest book is “Democracy in Black.”

A writer that influenced him: James Baldwin