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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Simon Gikandi  – Rethinking Englishness: From Empire Windrush to Brexit

Lecture Series
5:30 pm CET

A major concern of postcolonial criticism since the 1990s has been how writers from the former British empire have transformed the culture of the metropolis and its literary traditions. This lecture will revisit this narrative of transformation, focusing on the variegated, complex, and contradictory ways that migrant writers imagined England and repositioned their own relation to Englishness across several generations.  Beginning with the post-Windrush moment (1950s) and ending with Brexit (2016), the lecture will map out the migrant writer's changing relationship with the country and the city and the inscription of new spaces of the imagination caught between the metropole and its former colonies.  The lecture will conclude with some reflections on the differences and similarities between the literature of Caribbean and African migrants to Britain. 

Simon Gikandi is Robert Schirmer Professor and Chair of English at Princeton University, before that he was Robert Hayden Collegiate Professor of English at the University of Michigan and the director of the Program in Comparative Literature. Gikandi was elected the president of the Modern Language Association in 2019. 

Born in Nyeri, Kenya, Gikandi earned his BA in literature, with first-class honors from the University of Nairobi. As a British Council Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, he graduated with an MLitt in English studies. He has a PhD in English from Northwestern University.

Gikandi's major fields of research and teaching are Anglophone literatures and cultures of Africa, India, the Caribbean, and postcolonial Britain; literary and critical theory; the black Atlantic and the African diaspora; and the English novel. His current research projects are on slavery and modernity, African philology, and cultures of the novel.

Moderated by BCB Professor for Comparative Literature Laura Scuriatti.

Further events in the series:

March 2, 7:00 pm CET:
Sa’ed Atshan and Katharina Galor – The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis and Palestinians in Berlin
Moderated by Hanan Toukan

March 11, 6:00 pm CET:
Matthew Wilhelm Solomon  – Writing Migration, Displacement and Affective Landscapes*
Moderated by Marion Detjen

March 18, 12:30 pm CET:
Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld – Entangled Archives: Infrastructures for Sharing Unshared Colonial Histories
Moderated by Hanan Toukan

March 24, 10:45 am CET:
Caroline Patey – Sam Selvon: Creole London and the Relocation of Culture and Language
Moderated by Laura Scuriatti

March 25, 6:30 pm CET:
Amin Husain – Decolonize this place. "Training in the practice of freedom. The artist-as-organizer"
Moderated by Hanan Toukan

April 7, 7:00 pm CET:
Michael Rothberg – Multidirectional Memory and Postcolonial Studies in Contemporary Germany
Moderated by Marion Detjen

April 12, 2:00 pm CET:
Loren Landau – Visibilising Responsibility: Containment, Chronoscopy and Migrant Immoralities*
Moderated by Marion Detjen

April 26, 10:45 am 
Brendan McGeever – Crisis Britain: Race, Class and Migration after Brexit
Moderated by Frank Wolff

April 29, 12:30 pm
Amal Eqeiq – Of Borders and Limits in Latin America and the Middle East
Moderated by Hanan Toukan 

The event series takes place  within the framework of and is funded by the Mellon Cluster of Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education.

* Funded by the Open Society University Network

Contact information:  l.scuriatti@berlin.bard.edu

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