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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics Events & Colloquium

CANCELLED - CHS & DemCP colloquium - HERMAN BENNETT (City University of New York/Freie Universität Berlin): "The Problematics of Blackness: Slaves, Mexicans & Representing Past"

When:Mo 16-03-2020 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Room A7, Academy building

This event has been cancelled.


How do hegemonic representations of the past configure subject position and citizenship in the present? Bennett explores this dynamic in reference to Mexico’s under-examined African past and the ways those allegedly understood to be ‘black’ see themselves in relation to the dominant narratives of the past.

About the speaker

Herman L. Bennett is a Professor in History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). As a student of the early modern African diaspora, Professor Bennett primarily focuses on how dispossessed peoples navigate power and stake claims within the structures of dominance. At its core, his work engages the earliest formations of blackness, experiences that he views as inseparable from the historical configuration of the West. Writing the history of the West from its margins plays a considerable role in his relationship to the historical profession. As a perspective, it has meant that he constantly searches for ways to assist students and colleagues in seeing themselves as stakeholders so as to negotiate the workings of institutions and cultural formations with the ability to effect change in existing structures.

Some of his more recent notable publications include:

  • “Writing into a Void: Slavery, History and Representing Blackness in Latin America,” Social Text (2007)
  • Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Indiana University Press, 2009)
  • Africans Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty & Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
  • He and Jennifer Morgan are completing the African Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction (forthcoming: Oxford University Press)