Anastasia Curwood and Peter Kalliney discussing and signing Shirley Chisholm: Champion Of Black Feminist Power Politics and The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 7:00pm
161 Lexington Green Cir
Lexington, KY 40503

 

Anastasia Curwood and Peter Kalliney discussing and signing Shirley Chisholm: Champion Of Black Feminist Power Politics and The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature

Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm ET

Location: Joseph-Beth Lexington

Join us for Anastasia Curwood and Peter Kalliney discussing and signing Shirley Chisholm: Champion Of Black Feminist Power Politics and The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature in collaboration with Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies. Optional RSVP is below but not required to attend the event.

 

Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics by Anastasia Curwood

Shaking up New York and national politics by becoming the first African American congresswoman and, later, the first Black major-party presidential candidate, Shirley Chisholm left an indelible mark as an "unbought and unbossed" firebrand and a leader in politics for meaningful change. Chisholm spent her formative years moving between Barbados and Brooklyn, and the development of her political orientation did not follow the standard narratives of the civil rights or feminist establishments. Rather, Chisholm arrived at her Black feminism on her own path, making signature contributions to U.S. politics as an inventor and practitioner of Black feminist power—the vantage point centering Black girls and women in the movement that sought to transform political power into a broadly democratic force.

Anastasia Curwood interweaves Chisholm's public image, political commitments, and private experiences to create a definitive account of a consequential life. In so doing, Curwood suggests new truths for understanding the social movements of Chisholm's time and the opportunities she forged for herself through multicultural, multigenerational, and cross-gender coalition building.

 

Anastasia Curwood is Professor and Chair of History and Director of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies at the University of Kentucky. She earned an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and an M.A. and Ph.D., both in History, from Princeton University. She has written Stormy Weather: Middle-Class African American Marriages Between the Two World Wars (University of North Carolina Press, 2010) and Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics (University of North Carolina Press, 2023).
 
Curwood is the recipient of several grants and honors, including a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship, and a Research Fellowship at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University.

 

 

The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature by Peter Kalliney

How decolonization and the cold war influenced literature from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean

How did superpower competition and the cold war affect writers in the decolonizing world? In The Aesthetic Cold War, Peter Kalliney explores the various ways that rival states used cultural diplomacy and the political police to influence writers. In response, many writers from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean--such as Chinua Achebe, Mulk Raj Anand, Eileen Chang, C.L.R. James, Alex La Guma, Doris Lessing, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and Wole Soyinka—carved out a vibrant conceptual space of aesthetic nonalignment, imagining a different and freer future for their work.

Kalliney looks at how the United States and the Soviet Union, in an effort to court writers, funded international conferences, arts centers, book and magazine publishing, literary prizes, and radio programming. International spy networks, however, subjected these same writers to surveillance and intimidation by tracking their movements, tapping their phones, reading their mail, and censoring or banning their work. Writers from the global south also suffered travel restrictions, deportations, imprisonment, and even death at the hands of government agents. Although conventional wisdom suggests that cold war pressures stunted the development of postcolonial literature, Kalliney's extensive archival research shows that evenly balanced superpower competition allowed savvy writers to accept patronage without pledging loyalty to specific political blocs. Likewise, writers exploited rivalries and the emerging discourse of human rights to contest the attentions of the political police.

A revisionist account of superpower involvement in literature, The Aesthetic Cold War considers how politics shaped literary production in the twentieth century.

 

Peter J. Kalliney is the William J. and Nina B. Tuggle Chair in English at the University of Kentucky. His books include Cities of Affluence and Anger, Commonwealth of Letters, and Modernism in a Global Context.

 

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