James Baldwin's Global Imagination: a multi-site conference event


a multi-site conference event
February 17 to 20, Thursday to Sunday
various times
Contact baldwinconference@gmail.com for information

For conference schedule, locations and other details, click HERE (pdf format).
Staged in the context of global economic insecurity, a planet gripped by the ravages of war and climate change, ever-increasing gaps in wealth, as well as rampant fundamentalism (East and West), “James Baldwin’s Global Imagination” is intended as an examination of globality not simply as a matter of demography but as an urgent call to re-consider the contemporary utility of Baldwin’s expansive injunction to William Faulkner (and, in fact, to us all), “[t]hat any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.” These proceedings are thus proposed as an opportunity to take seriously Baldwin’s consistent and insistent proposal that categories of difference represent an early misnaming, a dangerous and cowardly misrecognition of the moral imagination required to confront not only our mortality but also the brutal legacies of our collective histories.
Taking Baldwin’s vision as our starting point, this conference aims, among other related concerns, to make legible the continued impacts of U.S. state racism in this putatively post-racial period. In this post-Civil Rights epoch saturated by disorienting fictions of progress circulating alongside the vulgar traffic in difference that characterizes much of late-capitalist popular consumption, critical appraisals of such processes are timely and necessary. This orienting intellectual posture illuminates the continued structural and identitarian restraints which remain the most dominant features of global life, and has particular implications for policy-making, interdisciplinary scholarship, as well as twenty-first century conceptions of the self that refuse the false, or, more precisely, rigid, character of borders and disciplines.
Confirmed plenary speakers, respondents, and musicians:
M. Jacqui Alexander, University of Toronto
Awam Amkpa, New York University
Eshter Armah, journalist, playwright
Rich Blint, New York University
Marcellus Blount, Columbia University
Nicholas Boggs, Columbia University
Herb Boyd, Baldwin Biographer
Jennifer Brody, Duke University
Guillermo Brown, musician
Courtney Bryant, Columbia University; musician
James Campbell, writer, editor, Baldwin biographer
Margo Crawford, Cornell University
Thulani Davis, author and journalist, New York University
Manthia Diawara, New York University
Douglas Field, Staffordshire University
Steven Fullwood, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYPL
Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr, poet
Tamar-Kali, musician
Randall Kenan, author
Lovalerie King, Penn State University
Morely, musician
David Leeming, Baldwin biographer
D. Quentin Miller, Suffolk University
Jennifer Morgan, New York University
Brian Norman, Loyola University, Maryland
Sedat Pakay, photographer, filmmaker; Baldwin friend and collaborator
Robert Pollack, Columbia University
Darryl Pinckney, writer
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, writer
Avital Ronell, New York University
Bill Schwarz, Queen Mary, University of London
Richard Sennett, New York University and the London School of Economics
Nikhil Singh, New York University
Somi, musician
Aisha Karefa-Smart, niece of James Baldwin
Hortense J. Spillers, Vanderbilt University
Greg Tate, writer, journalist, musician
Kendall Thomas, Columbia University
Colm Toibin, writer
Quincy Troupe, poet, editor, New York University
Imani Uzuri, musician
Cheryl Wall, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Patricia J. Williams, Columbia University
Keith Witty, musician
Magdalena Zaborowska, University of Michigan
Conference program committee:
Rich Blint, New York University
Douglas Field, Staffordshire University, UK
Bill Schwarz, Queen Mary, University of London
Co-sponsored by these NYU units: Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Program in Africana Studies; Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality; Global Programs and Multicultural Affairs; Humanities Initiative; Institute for Public Knowledge; Institute of African-American Affairs;
and by the Brecht Forum; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Studio Museum in Harlem.