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LOVE, TRAGEDY, AND POLITICS: JAMES BALDWIN
April 5 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
An event every week that begins at 6:30 pm on Monday, repeating until April 12, 2021
Presented live and online by Dr. Paul Kirkland
James Baldwin’s is one of the most eloquent voices in the American literary tradition. Recent interest in his writing helps us to understand our own time in light of black experience, American history, and the perennial human condition.
“This endless struggle to achieve and reveal and confirm a human identity, human authority, yet contains, for all its horror, something very beautiful,” James Baldwin writes.
What does Baldwin mean when he speaks of the “beautiful” struggle for human identity and authority — and why has his thinking resonated among so many recent authors? In his writings, Baldwin claims that the problem of race in America stems from our failure to recognize tragedy in life. Is Baldwin right that most Americans lack a tragic sense? Does black experience in the United States supply a possible foundation for it? What do racial divisions and political questions have to do with love and tragedy? Baldwin’s thinking invites us to consider contemporary questions of race and American politics alongside age-old questions of tragedy, love, and beauty. Our series will engage such questions in the context of Baldwin’s work (and that of his contemporaries) as a path into black American thought in his time and ours. The course will be anchored in Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and No Name in the Street and supplemented by Baldwin’s fiction and relevant work from the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.
Seven Mondays: February 22, March 1, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12, 6:30-8:30 pm via Zoom
$125, Members $110, Educator Members $50
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Vintage), ISBN: 978-0679744726
James Baldwin, No Name in the Street (Vintage), ISBN: 9780307275929
Dr. Paul Kirkland is Associate Professor of Political Science at Carthage College, specializing in the study of political philosophy. His Ph.D. is from Fordham University (2002). His first book, Nietzsche’s Noble Aims: Affirming Life, Confronting Modernity was published in 2009 by Lexington Press. He has also published several articles on Nietzsche and political philosophy. His research and teaching interest in politics and literature and African American political thought has produced work on authors such as Shakespeare, Schiller, Du Bois, and Ellison. He is currently editing a volume entitled “Joy and Laughter in Nietzsche’s Philosophy” (Bloomsbury) and completing a book project, “Nietzsche’s Tragic Political Philosophy.”