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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"? 


paperairplane's picture

Book suggestion!

Hey, I don't have the book I suggested with me, but you can borrow it from the library:

Hummingbird's picture

Thanks so much for this!

Thanks so much for this! Definitely going to check it out.

jccohen's picture

anti-racist activism on campus


Exciting topic, clearly timely (often true and itself a comment), and lends itself to a range of research modes.  For example, I'm wondering whether the Walled Women BMC research and also final projects might provide valuable resources.  This question of longevity or connectivity or repeats/echoes is an intriguing and important one, and I think both relates to issues of other social movements outside academe and also plays out in some particular ways within academe.  Another angle that's occurring to me as I think about the blogging in Americanah and the role of social media in various of the more recent issues - and activist responses - on campuses if this question of how technology is imbricated...  And I'm wondering what kinds of key articles might be out there addressing your overall questions - perhaps you know or a question for David K?