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A "Common Spectacle" of the Race: The Visual Politics of Founding in the Age of Garveyism

Adom Getachew (University of Chicago); response from Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof (University of Michigan)
Thursday, October 29, 2020
4:00-5:00 PM
Off Campus Location
Addressing a crowded Liberty Hall full of members of the New York Division in the summer of 1920, Marcus Garvey declared, “We are a new people, born out of a new day and new circumstance. We are born out of the bloody war of 1914-1918.” This essay is concerned with the constitution of a new people, attending in particular to the role of images, performance, and practices in the project of political founding. Focusing on the 1920 and 1921 convention, I argue that for the United Negro Improvement Association, political founding was a vehicle through which participants came to understand themselves as constituting the figure of Universal Negro—a figure represented through the convention as a transnational and empowered political subject. Political founding was on this view a process of transforming one’s self-perception, of cognizing oneself as member of a transnational people politically capable of transforming the prevailing conditions of racial domination.

Professor Getachew will present a short introduction to her pre-circulated paper (forthcoming); this will be followed by brief comments by Professor Jesse Hoffnung-Garkshop (University of Michigan) and audience questions.

Adom Getachew is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (PUP, 2019).

Free and open to the public. This is a remote event and will take place online via Zoom. Please register in advance here:

This event is part of the Thursday Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Africa, African American, african diaspora, History, immigration, Latin America
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History

The Thursday Series is the core of the institute's scholarly program, hosting distinguished guests who examine methodological, analytical, and theoretical issues in the field of history. 

The Friday Series consists mostly of panel-style workshops highlighting U-M graduate students. On occasion, events may include lectures, seminars, or other programs presented by visiting scholars.

The insitute also hosts other historical programming, including lectures, film screenings, author appearances, and similar events aimed at a broader public audience.