Associate Professor of Literature Judith Madera will give a talk titled “Black Counter-Cartographies: Bodies, Texts, and Networks in the Age of Abolition” for the Trowbridge Initiative in American Culture (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)’s “Second Book Project” on Friday, March 1, 2019.
The Second Book Project is a symposium bringing together several distinguished scholars of American literature—Michael Cohen (UCLA), Victoria Olwell (UVA), and Michael LeMahieu (Clemson), in addition to Judith Madera—each of whom has already published a successful book about American literary history. These scholars will give presentations on the premises and critical purposes of their current books-in-progress and describe the impact they hope for their books to make, the scholarly need or opportunity they see themselves addressing, and how they expect their books to contribute to the various ongoing debates of which they will be a part.
Judith Madera’s “Black Counter-Cartographies” explores the shared geographical and historical structures linking Afrodiasporic communities in the Caribbean and US. The talk illuminates a cross-section of African American literary history to show how writing can awaken radical place potential. It looks at the ways black diasporan authors reoriented knowledge and form to give presence to black embodiment. Black counter-cartographies, she claims, invent connectivity in sites that look like closures. The literature enables critical conversations about place-making and belonging in an epoch of radical struggle.