Decolonization and Diaspora: Blackness in Afro-Arab Worlds

Thu November 11th 2021, 12:00 - 1:00pm

Join CAS, AAAS, and the Stanford Humanities Center for a talk by Dr. Sophia Azeb, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago. Her research engages questions of Blackness and Black identity in the twentieth century. Moving across Atlantic, Saharan, and Mediterranean worlds, Azeb traces Blackness as it is translated, mobilized, and circulated by African American, African, and Afro-Arab cultural figures. Through innovative studies of literature, music, and political forms, Azeb considers the surprising entanglements of Arabness and Blackness in the Cold War and Non-Aligned era. More specifically, her work "Black Folks From Babylon” attends to the mistranslations and missed translations abound in David Graham Du Bois’s 1975 novel …And Bid Him Sing in order to trace divergent epistemologies of blackness in 1960s Cairo. While Black American and Arab African characters debate the symbolic and material role of Egypt in the African diaspora and the anti-colonial era, Cairo’s burgeoning jazz scene opens up a dialogic space in which capacious interpretations and practices of diaspora may be realized. 



Speaker Bio

Sophia Azeb is an assistant professor of Black studies in the Department of English at the University of Chicago. Her book project, tentatively titled “Another Country: Constellations of Blackness in Afro-Arab Cultural Expression,” explores the circuits of transnational and translational blackness charted by African American, Afro-Caribbean, African, and Afro-Arab peoples across twentieth century North Africa and Europe.