2020-2021 Faculty-Graduate Seminar: “Writing the Impossible” ft. Lorgia García Peña, Harvard University

Thu, Feb 18, 2021, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: 
via ZOOM | To register, contact Shelby Sinclair at shelbys@princeton.edu.
Audience: 
Faculty & Staff
Graduate Students
Alumni
Speaker(s): 

“Writing the Impossible”: African American Studies and Critical Archival Praxis

This seminar explores approaches to archival research in the field of African American studies. Archives, as Michel-Rolph Trouillot reminds us, are not passive repositories of historical materials. Rather, the archive as an institution authorizes particular narratives about the past, while simultaneously rendering other narratives as illegitimate or even “unthinkable”. Working at the intersection of African American studies and critical archival studies, we will interrogate the archive as a site of racialized knowledge production and consider how archival sources inform historical and contemporary understandings of Black life. We will wrestle with the limitations of the archive—the silences, excesses, and (mis)representations—while also engaging with recent scholarship that addresses the methodological, theoretical, and ethical challenges of archival research in innovative ways. In doing so, we will reckon with what Saidiya Hartman characterizes as the “task of writing the impossible,” the effort to reconstruct the stories of Black people from fragmentary traces in the official record. Invited presenters for this yearlong seminar include scholars and archivists working in the fields of literary and cultural studies, anthropology, history, political science, African American studies, and digital humanities.

Learn more about 2020-2021 Faculty-Graduate Seminar 

 

Featured Speakers

Lorgia García PeñaProf. Lorgia García Peña is the author of The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nations and Archives of Contradictions (Duke University Press, 2016) a study of the impact of stories — historical and fictional — on the national and racial identity of a people. Offering the Dominican experience as case study, this book shows how the stories of a nation create marginality through acts of exclusion. These exclusionary acts are linked to the tensions between colonial desire and the aspiration for political independence. The book also shows how these official stories of exclusion, though influential in shaping a country’s identity, are always contested, negotiated, and even redefined through acts of resistance linked to the tensions between history — what is perceived as evidence of fact — and fiction — what is presumed to be invention: cultural productions, oral histories, and rumors. The Borders of Dominicanidad is the winner of Winner of the 2017 National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, the  2016 LASA Latino/a Studies Book Award and the 2016 Isis Duarte Book Prize in Haiti and Dominican Studies.

 


** Registration Is Required **

The seminars are only available to the Princeton University students, faculty, and staff. To register, please contact Shelby Sinclair at shelbys@princeton.edu.


 

Event Recording Notice: All in-person, video, and audio-based events may be recorded. By engaging in the above event, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and otherwise recorded for future department use. Participants waive all rights and any claims for payment or royalties connected with any exhibition, social media, or other publication of the materials. Please note you can hide your camera and/or mute your microphone at any time during a video and audio-based events.


 

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Location: via ZOOM | To register, contact Shelby Sinclair at shelbys@princeton.edu.

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