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Betty Ch'maj Distinguished American Studies Lecture: "Soul Survivals: Black Music and the Language of Resilience"

Emily Lordi, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Monday, April 1, 2019
4:00-5:30 PM
100 Hatcher Graduate Library Map
In addition to the lecture, we've arranged an informal lunch and conversation for graduate students with Professor Lordi earlier at noon. Having written for The New Yorker, Pitchfork, The Root, and the famed 33 1/3 music series, Lordi will be discussing and answering questions about writing for a broader public. Please RSVP here by Thurs, Mar 28:

Soul is in the air again. Each day seems to bring a new documentary, biography, posthumous record release, or Lifetime Achievement Award for such artists as Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Nina Simone, and Marvin Gaye. This talk asks what is at stake in the national soul revival, and offers new ways to conceive of the music called soul, both in the Black Power era and in the 21st century. Reading recent representations of the music alongside earlier recordings and performances, I posit soul as a mutable legacy of collective black resilience—one that at times reproduces and at other times resists the individualizing thrust of neoliberal ideology.

The Department of American Culture has invited Emily Lordi, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, to give the inaugural Betty Ch’maj Distinguished American Studies Lecture, an annual event established to honor the legacy of Ch’maj, the first Ph.D. of the American Culture program at the University of Michigan. Professor Lordi’s public talk will take place on Monday, April 1, 4-5:30 at Room 100 at the Hatcher Library Gallery. Her talk will draw from her forthcoming monograph Keeping On: Soul, Black Music, Resilience.

Professor Lordi is the author of Black Resonance: Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature (2013), and Donny Hathaway Live (2016), part of the famed 33 1/3 popular music book series published by Bloomsbury. Professor Lordi has published in prominent journals such as the Journal of Popular Music Studies, New Centennial Review, and Palimpsest, as well as edited volumes like The Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel, and the forthcoming Keywords in African American Studies. In addition to scholarly publication, Professor Lordi has been a regular contributor to prestigious venues like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, NPR, The Root, The Fader, and the Los Angeles Review of Books as a cultural critic. She received a B.A. at Vassar College in 2001, and her Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2009.

About the Betty Ch’maj Lecture: With generous support from the Ch’maj family, the Annual Betty Ch’maj Distinguished American Studies Lecture Series was established to honor the legacy of Betty Ch’maj. Ch'maj, who was awarded the very first Ph.D. in American Culture in 1961 at Michigan, continued her career researching American literature and music, founding the Radical Caucus of ASA, and working to challenge systematic gender discrimination in American Studies programs.
Building: Hatcher Graduate Library
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: African American, Culture, Discussion, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Free, History, Interdisciplinary, MESA, Multicultural, Music, Women's Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of American Culture, Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of English Language and Literature