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Fiction and Anti-Racist Activism

Hummingbird's picture

For my inquiry project, I’d like to look more critically at anti-racist activism that has occurred at Bryn Mawr and similar institutions both historically and more recently. I’ve been feeling both inspired and charged by the #MoHonest movement currently happening at Mount Holyoke, as well as the support that Bryn Mawr’s zine for people of color – Leverage – has shown in solidarity with that movement. I’ve also been reflecting on the Perry House movement that occurred last year, and after reading two novels that both examined race in America and academia (On Beauty by Zadie Smith, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) I want to represent, examine, and critique activism movements by writing a piece of fiction about an anit-racist activist movement on a fictional liberal arts college campus. I imagine this will take the form of a short story, though I'm currently imagining the narrative form will be less of a straightforward narrative and more post-modern, involving fictional testimonials from a variety of characters related (deeply or marginally) to the movement – possibly along the lines of The Savage Detectives  by Roberto Bolaño. My research will involve looking more deeply into the current and recent activism that has occured at Bryn Mawr, as well (potentially) as looking into historical accounts of anti-racist activism. One question I'm considering is how movements have repeated and echoed themes and methods of previous movements and how this is (or isn't) processed and refined in and out of classrooms. For example, how do professors involved themselves or step back from activism on their campus? How do students bridge the gap in activism work between "the classroom" and "the street"? 


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