African-American Studies Meets the New Historicism: Tracing the Black Freedom Movement via African-American Novels
The US Black Freedom Movement constituted one of the most transformational and emancipating social movements in the history of the United States. It not only paved the way for civil rights unattainable for the African-American community and other socially repressed groups in the US prior to the sixties, but also triggered academic innovations such as the New Historicism.
In this lecture, the African-American Freedom Movement and the New Historicism will be brought together and discussed simultaneously in order to trace some of the key features of the Movement. This will be done via a critical analysis of exemplary African-American novels of the sixties (for our purposes, the period 1955-1975), which will be read against the background of central political tractates, speeches, and interviews by leading Black intellectuals and activists. Students attending this lecture will gain a nuanced insight into the Black Freedom Movement and take home an understanding of the New Historicism and its major traits.
Johnny Van Hove studied English-Speaking Cultures and History (BA) as well as Transcultural Studies (MA) at the Universitiy of Bremen. He has been a fellow of the GCSC and the IPP at JLU since the fall of 2011. In his dissertation, he focuses on the discourses of African-American intellectuals about Central Africa in the sixties and seventies. He publishes frequently in Belgian, American, and German media on postcolonial issues.