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March 20: Author Margo Natalie Crawford to Discuss ‘Black Post-Blackness’

Bucknell’s Griot Institute for Africana Studies will present author Margo Natalie Crawford, a University of Pennsylvania professor of English who is a scholar of 20th and 21st century African American literature and visual culture, in a free, public talk entitled “The Black Unfamiliar in the Twenty-First Century: Black Post-Blackness ” on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. in the Great Room, Hildreth-Mirza Hall.

Crawford’s most recent book is Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and 21st Century Black Aesthetics (2017). Her earlier work includes Dilution Anxiety and the Black Phallus (2008) and New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (co-edited with Lisa Gail Collins, 2006). Black Post-Blackness compares the black avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s Black Arts movement and some of the most innovative spins of 21st century black aesthetics. Black Arts movement writers and visual artists are compared to a wide range of African American visual artists and writers who are at the forefront of 21st century black aesthetics. She shows that the mood of the 1970s “second wave” of the Black Arts movement is as “black post-black” as the cultural mood of 21st century black aesthetics.

She is now completing What is African American Literature? Through a focus on textual production, diasporic tensions, and the ongoing, repetitive production of the contemporary, What is African American Literature? shows how tensions between the material and ephemeral make the textual production of African American literature become the textual production of black affect.

Crawford argues that “black” and “post-black” meet in the experimental art of the 1960s and ’70s Black Arts Movement and the early years of the 21st century. Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and Twenty-First-Century Aesthetics, examines many genres: outdoor murals, paintings, installation art, editorial cartoons, experimental forms of art, as well as books, plays and poetry.

The Griot Institute invites the campus community to participate in its spring lecture series, which considers the ways that scholars, artists and practitioners have reconsidered familiar aspects of black culture, intellectual inquiry, and artistic production and have troubled traditional notions of black familiarity. These endeavors range from a reimagining of black theological traditions in terms of secular humanism, demythologizing of the realities of contemporary black immigration and asylum policy, and a rewriting of Confederate histories in light of black experience.

For additional information, contact the Griot Institute at or 570-577-2123.

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