Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 4:30pm
A.D. White House, Guerlac Room
The Paul Gottschalk Memorial Lecture by Kim F. Hall (Barnard College)
"Intelligently organized resistance": Shakespeare in the diasporic politics of John E. Bruce
While scholars gathered at Harvard University to hear noted Shakespearean George Lyman Kittredge outline a program for Shakespeare study and tens of thousands took special trains to attend performances of Caliban in the Yellow Sands at the City University of New York, in 1916 a "Ye Friends of Shakespeare” group convened at a Settlement House on the Lower East Side for its presidential address. Delivered by journalist John E. Bruce, the speech gave this group of black activists and intellectuals (including noted bibliophile Arturo Schomburg) a program for self-directed Shakespeare study within a framework of black advancement and resistance. This lecture situates Bruce’s speech in the cross-hatchings of Shakespeare celebration and anti-racist activism of the early twentieth century. Part of a larger project that explores black archives for links between Shakespeare study and black freedom struggle, this lecture asks: “can we find in these archival fragments a Shakespeare more suitable for twenty-first century America?”
Kim F. Hall is the Lucyle Hook Chair of English and Professor of Africana Studies at Barnard College where she teaches courses in Early Modern/Renaissance Literature, Black Feminist Studies, Critical Race Theory and Food Studies. She is the author of Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England, Othello: Texts and Contexts and The Sweet Taste of Empire: Sugar, Gender and Material Culture forthcoming with UPenn Press. Professor Hall was the Barnard Library’s inaugural “Faculty Partner of the Year” (2014) and 2015 winner of the College’s Tow Award for Innovative Pedagogy for the Digital Shange project. Diverse Issues in Higher Education named her one of “25 Women Making a Difference in Higher Education and Beyond” in 2016. She is currently working on 'Othello Was My Grandfather': Shakespeare and Race in the African Diaspora for which she has received grants from the NEH, the National Humanities Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in African-American Culture.
The Gottschalk Memorial Lecture was established in memory of Paul Gottschalk, Professor of English at Cornell, scholar of British Renaissance literature and author of The Meanings of Hamlet (1972). He died in 1977 at the age of 38.
~ Reception to follow ~
Sponsored by the Department of English