How To Do Things With Archives

A network graph created with Gephi and hand-entered data.

I was hooded in the Graduate Center’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, and this morning I learned my advisor died. I had some difficulty working with Jane the past few years. On more than one occasion she wielded her considerable writing talents to skewer me in an email. But she was a forceful mentor, particularly important when I was new graduate student. She generously… Continue reading How To Do Things With Archives

Don’t You Want to Be Free?

This past weekend, I went to Boston for the American Literature Association Conference. I presented a paper “Don’t You Want to Be Free?: Questions of Emancipation in 1930s African American Theatre” on an American Theatre & Drama Society panel. My paper focused on Langston Hughes’s play Don’t You Want To Be Free? and his Harlem… Continue reading Don’t You Want to Be Free?

Recovering the Black Cultural Front

I reviewed Brian Dolinar’s Black Cultural Front: Black Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation for the Graduate Center Advocate. With chapters on the National Negro Congress, Langston Hughes, Chester Himes, and the cartoonist Ollie Harrington, Dolinar makes the case that the black cultural front (and its antiracist, left politics) established in the 1930s continued… Continue reading Recovering the Black Cultural Front