Zora Neale Hurston Lecture

In honor and recognition of the many contributions of African-American women to our history, the Institute sponsors an annual Zora Neale Hurston Lecture.

Zora Neale Hurston, born in 1891, is one of the greatest writers and anthropologists of the 20th century. She was a unique scientist and artist who could write about the most ordinary things and make them infinitely vibrant. Of writing, she noted: Anyway, the force from somewhere in Space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you. Some of Hurston’s works include: Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), Mules and Men (1935), Tell My Horse (1937), Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939), Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), Seraph on the Suwanee (1948), Sanctified Church (1948), and Mule Bone (a play written with Langston Hughes—1996). Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960 but her works remain in the consciousness of world literature.



Kim F. Hall
Visiting Professor of English-Barnard College
Acting Chair, Africana Studies – Barnard College

Lecture Title

Plantation Aesthetics: Problems of Production and Reproduction in the English Caribbean

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007 at 6:00pm
To Be held Sulzberger Parlor Barnard Hall, 3rd Floor
Barnard College

Free & Open to the Public

Reception to Follow

Lecture Topic
This lecture examines the literary modes English planters and writers mobilized to address the change to race-based slavery in 17th century Caribbean sugar production. Drawing from a variety of narrative and visual “texts,” the paper identifies a “plantation aesthetic” used to address concerns about labor, reproduction and racial difference as well as to bind the Caribbean more closely to England. In these texts, evocations of “husbandry,” a term seemingly of interest only to the rural English estate or home, allow England to comprehend its expanding economic reach and address changes wrought by newly available tropical commodities, including its most disturbing new commodity—African slaves

Speaker Bio
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Kim F. Hall received her doctorate in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She held the first endowed chair in the humanities, the Thomas F.X. Mullarkey Chair in English, at Fordham University. She currently is Visiting Professor of English and Acting Director of Africana Studies at Barnard College. Her first book, Things of Darkness, published in 1996 by Cornell University Press, was the first to bring together black feminist theory and early modern studies. This groundbreaking study of racial discourses in sixteenth and seventeenth century Britain was named an outstanding academic book by Choice magazine and helped generate a new wave of scholarship on race in Shakespeare and Renaissance/Early Modern texts. Her second book, Othello: Texts and Contexts (Bedford/St. Martin’s Press 2006) offers readers visual and verbal textual materials to study along with the play Othello. She has lectured nationally and internationally on Shakespeare, Race Theory, renaissance women writers, visual arts, and pedagogy. She is past chair of the Shakespeare Division of the Modern Language Association and a former Trustee of the Shakespeare Association of America.

Professor Hall has won several prestigious fellowships, including an NEH fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago and an ACLS fellowship. She is listed in Who's Who of American Women as well as Who's Who among African Americans and appeared on the cover of the Hood College alumnae magazine in 1999. She is also an avid quilter whose work has been exhibited in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. She is currently working on a book, tentatively entitled Sweet Taste of Empire, which examines women, labor and race in the Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century.

Directions to Barnard Hall

Enter Barnard campus from the 118th & Broadway Gate

This lecture is presented in co-sponsorship with The Department of Africana Studies at Barnard College

Past Zora Neale Hurston lecturers include:

2001 -- Valerie Boyd-Smith

2002 -- Mira Nair

2003 -- Cathy Cohen

2004 -- Tricia Rose

2005 -- Mindy Thompson-Fullilove

2006 -- Leith Mullings

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