The Race, Poetics, Empire focal area is a new English department initiative. Launched in Fall 2015, the focal area is part of a department-wide effort to enhance existing research strengths, establish new conversations between department members, and to actively support graduate student scholarship. Additionally, the focal group seeks to foster interdisciplinary conversations between the Department of English and colleagues in History, Music, Gender and Sexuality, Africana Studies, and other departments and programs in culture, language and literature.
The featured event of the year is a visit from Brent Hayes Edwards, professor of African American and African diasporic literatures at Columbia University. An influential scholar of the African diaspora, Edwards will be a key interlocutor for the focal area’s efforts to link Americanist and Postcolonialist scholars. Professor Edwards’ talk will bring together his work on diaspora, music, and the archive, and will intersect importantly with ongoing conversations in Race, Poetics, and Empire and the Year of the Humanities. Specifically, his recent work on race and jazz will compliment departmental interests in Sound Studies. His visit, which will be coordinated by Professor Imani Owens, will be linked to the English department graduate seminar on Music and the Literary Imagination.