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If he is known for anything other than his writings, James Baldwin is best known for his work as a civil rights activist. What is often overlooked is Baldwin’s work toward uniting two under-represented and oppressed groups: African Americans and homosexuals. With his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Baldwin began a career of speaking about and for homosexuals and their relationship with the institutions of African-American communities. Through its focus on a sensitive, church-going teenager, Go Tell It on the Mountain dramatizes the strain imposed upon homosexual members of African-American communities within the Pentecostal Church through its religious beliefs.

James Baldwin Review
An Interview with Raoul Peck

I Am Not Your Negro (2016) takes its direction from the notes for a book entitled “Remember this House” that James Baldwin left unfinished, a book about his three friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.— their murders, and their intertwining legacies. The film examines the prophetic shadow Baldwin’s work casts on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American politics and culture. Peck compiles archival material from Baldwin’s interviews on The Dick Cavett Show, his 1965 Cambridge lecture, and a series of banal images indexing the American dream. Juxtaposed against this mythology is footage of Dorothy Counts walking to school, the assassination of black leaders and activists, KKK rallies, and the different formations of the contemporary carceral state. Our conversation examines Peck’s role as a filmmaker and his relationship with the Baldwin estate. Additionally, we discussed a series of aesthetic choices he fought to include in the film’s final cut, directing Samuel L. Jackson as the voice for the film, the similarities and shifts he wanted to document in American culture since the 1960s, and some of the criticism he has received for not emphasizing more Baldwin’s sexuality.

James Baldwin Review

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin in Conversation with Fritz J. Raddatz (1978)

This is the first English-language publication of an interview with James Baldwin conducted by the German writer, editor, and journalist Fritz J. Raddatz in 1978 at Baldwin’s house in St. Paul-de-Vence. In the same year, it was published in German in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, as well as in a book of Raddatz’s conversations with international writers, and—in Italian translation—in the newspaper La Repubblica. The interview covers various topics characteristic of Baldwin’s interests at the time—among them his thoughts about Jimmy Carter’s presidency, his reasons for planning to return to the United States, his disillusionment after the series of murders of black civil rights activists in the 1960s and 1970s, and the role of love and sexuality in his literary writings. A special emphasis lies on the discussion of possible parallels between Nazi Germany and U.S. racism, with Baldwin most prominently likening the whole city of New York to a concentration camp. Due to copyright reasons, this reprint is based on an English translation of the edited version published in German. A one-hour tape recording of the original English conversation between Raddatz and Baldwin is accessible at the German literary archive in Marbach.

James Baldwin Review
Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness

, their boyfriends, and strangers. Going to the police is not an option when you are afraid they will hurt you or deport you. If you are in the streets you risk being a target. This scene condenses the key themes of this chapter: the structural forces that produce trans women of colour as vulnerable, how some trans activists have organised a political movement that centres the experiences and leadership of the most vulnerable, and how filmmaking can contribute to this project. What happens when we bring together a trans social justice politics attuned to the unequal

in The power of vulnerability

snowflake’ –​the generation that came into adulthood in the 2010s, presumably more fragile and easily offended than the previous ones (GQ, 2016; Hartocollis, 2016). I  bring this context into focus not to present it as a perspective among others but to examine how some of the language used in feminist contexts has been disconcertingly adopted into anti-​feminist discourse. Scholars, activists and public debaters should be aware of the potential allegiances they may build, even if inadvertently, with anti-​feminist voices, or white supremacist, trans-​exclusionary feminist

in The power of vulnerability

this vulnerability is shared, and by whom? Why is #MeToo having an impact only now, with wealthy and often white cis-​women in Hollywood at the forefront of the movement, when the issue of sexual abuse and assault has been a key struggle in feminist, women of colour, and trans activisms for such a long time? What part does social media play in the successes and failures of activist efforts such as #MeToo, and how does it relate to broader media histories of addressing and representing painful issues and marginalised people? One of the keys to the success of the

in The power of vulnerability
Theorising the en-gendered nation

administrative structures or its policies, the new postcolonial nation is historically a maleconstructed space, narrated into modern self-consciousness by male leaders, activists and writers, in which women are more often than not cast as symbols or totems, as the bearers of tradition. Stories of women explores the intricate, often paradigmatic negotiations between gender, sexuality and the post-independence nation which have marked postcolonial narratives, including novels by women, from the independence period up to the present day. The central concept informing the book

in Stories of women
Open Access (free)
Defining the nation differently

and the civilian ‘keep’ or compound, women play several roles relative to the new nation, not only as ‘mothers of the struggle’ and providers, but as political activists, agents of history.3 The Zimbabwean example is apt in this context considering that women writers, like feminist critics of women’s writing, appear to encounter a particular difficulty in envisaging roles and spaces through which women might mobilise political power outside of conventional structures, such as that of the nation-state.4 Given existing hierarchies of privilege, the question is whether

in Stories of women
Open Access (free)
White fragility and black social death

invited, even called upon, to comment on the problematic of blackface and the reproduction of racist stereotypes. This time we kept raising our voices, and during most of 2012 one debate followed another. For the first time, a relatively big group of black intellectuals, activists, educators, and academics, including myself, could make themselves heard on the cultural arena. What became interesting as well as painful to observe during this period was that debates created ‘chains’ entailing uncontrolled seepage or overlap between context, medium specificity, and genre

in The power of vulnerability