Kinohi Nishikawa on "Toward a Black Book Aesthetic"

  • 03/24/2021
  • 6:30 PM
  • 3/24/2021 | 6:30 PM CT/7:30 PM ET via Zoom. Advance registration required via website.

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March Evening Program

Kinohi Nishikawa

Over the past 15 years, the Black Arts movement has undergone a much-needed critical reassessment in literary and cultural history. Once typed as a propaganda arm of the Black Power movement, Black Arts today is recognized as a diverse coalition of collectives that broke from mainstream institutions in order to reframe cultural production around Black people themselves. Yet even this revised understanding of the movement has lacked a bibliography that can shed light on how Black Arts collectives went about building alternative institutions. In presenting new bibliographic findings, this paper suggests book design played a vital, if still overlooked, role in manifesting the movement’s commitment to black readers. For poets and publishers alike, design held the key to situating literature on a continuum of arts-making and to tracking the ephemerality and dynamism of a movement that was constantly in flux.

Kinohi is Associate Professor of English and African American studies at Princeton where his work focuses on twentieth century African American literature.



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