Institute of English and American Studies, Goethe-University Frankfurt

Jan 28 2022, 6pm (s.t.), CET, Zoom

A Reading and Conversation with Frank Wilderson III

Frank Wilderson’s 2020 book Afropessimism has generated a fervent debate about the lasting presence of slavery and the centrality of anti-Black violence for the project of modernity. Wilderson’s melange of memoir, philosophy, and poetic reflection has instantly become a reference point in a branch of critical theory that interprets the tenacity of anti-Black racism as a sign that the subjugation of Black people organizes Western civilization. Nominated for the National Book Award in Nonfiction, Afropessimism is provocative in the best sense. As Claudia Rankine puts it: “There are crucial books that you don’t agree with, but one still comes to understand the importance of the thought experiment. Afropessimism is one of those books.”  

In our online event, Frank Wilderson will read excerpts from Afropessimism and engage in a conversation with his German translator, Jan Wilm. The event will provide ample space for questions by the audience.

Frank Wilderson III is Professor and chair of African American studies at the University of California, Irvine. In its original US edition, Afropessimism was published by Liveright in 2020. The German translation by Jan Wilm appeared with Matthes & Seitz in 2021.

The event is part of “In Transit|ion: Frankfurt Lectures in Literary and Cultural Studies,” a transdisciplinary lectures series hosted by the departments of American Studies, English Studies, and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Goethe-University Frankfurt. Past speakers include Yann Martel, Arundhati Roy, Tom McCarthy, Laura Marcus, and Ross Posnock.  

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