Wednesday 9 November 2016
Screening 3.30-5.30pm + Talk 6.00-7.30pm
Forgeries of Memory and Meaning: Thinking Racial Regimes and Film with Cedric J. Robinson
Screening and Roundtable organised by the Methods Lab with the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory + Race Critical Studies Network + Media and Communications Dept at Goldsmiths
Roderick Ferguson, Avery F. Gordon, and Alberto Toscano (Chair)
In his last published book, Forgeries of Meaning & Memory: Blacks and the Regimes of Race in American Theater and Film Before World War II (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), Cedric J. Robinson investigates the shifting racial regimes present in early American film as these emerge in response to the needs of capitalism and imperial expansion. Less well known than Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, in this book Robinson presents the results of a twenty-year long study of American cinema and the role of culture in cementing and destabilizing racial regimes.
The screening and roundtable put Julie Dash’s 1991 film, Daughters of the Dust, in conversation with Robinson’s book. Dash’s film was hailed by the radical African American writer and filmmaker Toni Cade Bambara as an essential film in the “progressive world film culture movements that bolster socially responsible cinema” and it makes repeated appearances in Forgeries of Meaning & Memory. Daughters of the Dust tells the story of the Peazant family who, in a wave of migration to the northern parts of the U.S., are about to leave their Gullah Island home off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia in 1902. The film’s attention to the changes in black subjectivity wrought by emancipation and post Reconstruction Jim Crow modernity weave a story and a visual field of the emergence of the “New Negro” that interrogate white nationalist racial regimes and that also anticipate the shifting terrain of state violence as the rise of fascist movements shadow an epidemic of lynching.
After the screening of Daughters of the Dust, we will host a discussion of the film and Robinson’s book, Forgeries of Meaning & Myth. Active participation in the discussion by students, staff, and members of the public is welcomed.
Roderick Ferguson is Professor of African American and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of The Reorder of Things: The University and its Pedagogies of Minority Difference, among other books and articles.
Avery F. Gordon is Professor of Sociology at the University of California Santa Barbara and Visiting Professor in the Birkbeck School of Law and the author of Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination and the forthcoming The Hawthorn Archive: Letters from the Utopian Margins, among other books and articles.
Alberto Toscano is the Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Theory at Goldsmiths and the author of Cartographies of the Absolute, among other books and articles.