Saidiya Hartman – Beautiful Experiments

Event Date: 17 October 2019

Room B34
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet St
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Professor Saidiya Hartman (Colombia) – Beautiful Experiments

Followed by a conversation with Dr Gail Lewis, moderated by Ama Josephine Budge

This keynote lecture was part of The Art of Not Doing Birkbeck Institute Graduate Conference 2019, convened by Lise Groenvold and Ama Josephine Budge

The link to their site:

The lecture followed a screening of the art film ‘between a whisper and a cry’ (©Alberta Whittle, 2019)

The link to her website:

Prof Saidiya Hartman was born and raised in New York City. She is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford 1997) and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2007). She has published articles on slavery, the archive, and the city, including “The Terrible Beauty of the Slum,” “Venus in Two Acts” and “The Belly of the World.” She has been a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, a Whitney Oates Fellow at Princeton University, and a Rockefeller Fellow at Brown University.

Dr Gail Lewis is Reader in Psychosocial Studies in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College and a psychotherapist. Her political subjectivity was formed in the intensities of black feminist and anti-racist struggle and through a socialist,
anti-imperialist lens. She was a member of the Brixton Black Women’s Group and one of the founder members of the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent. She has written on feminism, intersectionality, the welfare state, and racialised-gendered experience. Her publications include ‘Race, Gender and Social Welfare: encounters in a postcolonial society’ (2000), Polity Press;‘Citizenship: personal lives and social policy’ (2004), ed. Polity Press; ‘Birthing Racial Difference: conversations with my mother and others’ (2009) Studies in the Maternal; ‘Unsafe Travel: experiencing intersectionality and feminist displacements’ (2013) Signs: journal of women in culture and society; ‘Where Might I Find You’: Popular Music and the Internal Space of the Father’, (2012) Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society; ‘Questions of Presence’, (2017) Feminist Review, Issue 117; ‘Black Feminism and the Challenge of Object Use’ (forthcoming) Feminist Review. She believes that intergenerational conversations are among the most urgent in these times. She is an Arsenal fan.

Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies with Dr Gail Lewis at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana and Kenya.
Welcome by Professor Esther Leslie (Birkeck):

Professor Saidiya Hartman (Colombia), with an introduction by Ama Josephine Budge (Birkbeck) :
Dr Gail Lewis (Birkbeck), with an introduction by Ama Josephine Budge (Birkbeck):
Discussion and questions (Chair: Ama Josephine Budge (Birkbeck))


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