The annual James Baldwin Lecture series was launched March 29, 2006 with the inaugural lecture presented by Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Princeton University Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. The series aims to celebrate the work of Princeton faculty and to provide an occasion for the intellectual community to reflect on the issue of race and American democracy. The lectures also honor the work of the late essayist James Baldwin, one of America’s most powerful cultural critics. Professor Brian Eugenio Herrera, who will deliver the 2018 lecture, is Assistant Professor of Theater at Princeton University where his work, both academic and artistic, examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report (HowlRound, 2015) and Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance (Michigan, 2015), which was awarded the George Jean Nathan Prize for Dramatic Criticism.
The 2018 James Baldwin Lecture will be held Thursday, April 12th at 4:30 p.m. in McCormick 101 and is entitled, “The Dramatist’s Call to Action: Realizing the Provocative Prescience of James Baldwin and María Irene Fornés.” This event is free and open to the public.
María Irene Fornés (b. 1930, Havana, Cuba) is among the most influential American theater-makers of the twentieth century. A defining force within the off-off-Broadway movement of the 1960s and 1970s (and nine-time Obie Award winner), Fornés — as playwright, director, designer and teacher — became a guiding presence for emerging theater artists of the 1980s and 1990s, especially those invested in staging feminist, queer and latinx aesthetics and experiences. Fornés’ experiments in theatrical form and her transformative teaching techniques continue to challenge and inspire new generations of theater-makers today. Even so, the living legacy of María Irene Fornés remains remarkably under-acknowledged among contemporary theater artists, students and scholars.
Thursday’s lecture is given in conjunction with a constellation of events being held at Princeton, and around the country, occurring in April 2018 to honor the work of María Irene Fornés. (More information: arts.princeton.edu)