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James Baldwin, Teju Cole, and Glenn Ligon

This essay uses Edward Said’s theory of affiliation to consider the relationship between James Baldwin and contemporary artists Teju Cole and Glenn Ligon, both of whom explicitly engage with their predecessor’s writing in their own work. Specifically, Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village” (1953) serves a through-line for this discussion, as it is invoked in Cole’s essay “Black Body” and Ligon’s visual series, also titled Stranger in the Village. In juxtaposing these three artists, I argue that they express the dialectical energy of affiliation by articulating ongoing concerns of race relations in America while distinguishing themselves from Baldwin in terms of periodization, medium-specificity, and their broader relationship to Western art practice. In their adoption of Baldwin, Cole and Ligon also imagine a way beyond his historical anxieties and writing-based practice, even as they continue to reinscribe their own work with his arguments about the African-American experience. This essay is an intermedial study that reads fiction, nonfiction, language-based conceptual art and mixed media, as well as contemporary politics and social media in order consider the nuances of the African-American experience from the postwar period to our contemporary moment. Concerns about visuality/visibility in the public sphere, narrative voice, and self-representation, as well as access to cultural artifacts and aesthetic engagement, all emerge in my discussion of this constellation of artists. As a result, this essay identifies an emblematic, though not exclusive, strand of African-American intellectual thinking that has never before been brought together. It also demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Baldwin’s thinking for the contemporary political scene in this country.

James Baldwin Review

what’s happening around the world today as if there haven’t been people… theorising racism, nationalism, empire and gender for a century and warning of exactly what we see now.’ Moulded by Eurocentric knowledge systems, most of us react to such developments with utter shock. We – an imagined citizenry of respectable democracies – are horrified and appalled at how far we have been dragged from our liberal, more-or-less progressive self-image. And we are invited to consider whether we might be witnessing the end of the liberal humanitarian order

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

safe, logoed, glitzy and smart. Besides establishment acceptance, humanitarian innovation draws positivity from its disavowal of past failures and commitment to a future of ‘failing-forward in a spirit of honesty’ ( HPG, 2018 : 132). Transparency regarding current systemic ‘pathologies’ like institutionalising self-interest or neglecting the agency of the disaster-affected ( ibid .: 22–3) is part of the self-cleansing necessary to birth a humanitarianism 2.0. This paper, however, questions whether humanitarian innovation can be any more effective

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement

engagement. However, our comparative approach also illustrates how, across the three countries, social life, communal trust and political legitimacy worked around, through and in conflict with formal and informal community engagement interventions and local leadership structures. The narratives we present below reveal the restricted range of options for humanitarian NGOs and state representatives in encounters, which can have significant consequences both for communities and

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

violence. Despite the same broad objective, two distinct labels are used – ‘civilian protection’ and ‘staff security’ – and each designates a distinct set of policies and practices. Starting from the perspective that the reasons for such a distinction are not self-evident, the current article seeks to draw attention to the differences between staff-security and civilian-protection strategies, and to stimulate a conversation about the extent to which the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War

and its associated population of access to healthcare ( Rubenstein and Bittle, 2010 ; International Committee of the Red Cross, 2011 ). This article attempts to present a more complex picture and broaden understanding of the issue by providing a detailed narrative of episodes of violence affecting MSF-supported health structures, one that contextualises these violent incidents with regard for the dynamics of conflict in South Sudan as well as MSF

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs