Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez | Intimacies to Apocalypso: Relationality and Decolonizing Diasporas

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 7 - 8:30pm

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How do we map relations across the Afro-Atlantic? How do the diasporic cultural productions of the sole Spanish-speaking nation in Sub-Saharan Africa connect with works emerging from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic)? What insights do we gain by reading these contemporary works alongside each other? This free, public online lecture as part of the Spring 2021 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series examines the long history of Atlantic crossings between Equatorial Guinea, and the Latinx Caribbean and engage in a robust discussion about colonialism, diaspora, feminisms, decolonization, literature, and the human. Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez traces how themes of intimacy, witnessing, dispossession, reparations, and futurities are remapped in a series of creative works and will consider how Black diasporic histories are impacted by interlocking structures of oppression, including public and intimate forms of domination, sexual and structural violence, sociopolitical and racial exclusion, and the haunting remnants of colonial intervention. By centering the often-peripheralized Afro-Atlantic through a set of diasporic texts we can come to understand how they not only reveal violence but also forms of resistance and the radical potential of Afro-futurities. The lecture centers the cultural productions of peoples of African descent as Afro-diasporic imaginaries that subvert coloniality and offers new ways to approach questions of home, location, belonging, and justice.

Zoom registration required.

Yomaira FigueroaYomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez is an Afro-Puerto Rican writer, teacher, and scholar. She is Associate Professor of Afro-Diaspora Studies at Michigan State University, the co-founder and curator of Electric Marronage, and the author of Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (2020). Her published work can be found in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, the journal of Decolonization, CENTRO Journal, Small Axe, Frontiers Journal, and SX Salon. She is a founder of both the MSU Womxn of Color Initiative and the collaborative hurricane recovery project #ProyectoPalabrasPR. Dr. Figueroa is a former Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, a former Duke University Mellon Mays SITPA Fellow, and is a 2021-2022 Cornell University Society for the Humanities Fellow. 

The IDS public lecture series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding from the Robert Lehman Foundation. The IDS public lecture series is also made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundations.

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