Last night, the Barnard Center for Research on WomenW hosted an event in honor of Chirstina Sharpe, a writer and feminist scholar. Staff Writer Shina Chetti attended, and reports on the event’s messages of history and resilience.
Held yesterday in Barnard College’s Diana Event Oval, In the Wake: On Black and Being payed tribute to the immense literary undertaking of Christina Sharpe, author, feminist scholar and associate professor at Tufts University. The room was bustling with people anxiously anticipating her commentary on this work, which was a follow-up of sorts to (and simultaneously, a marked deviation from) her hugely successful novel, Monstrous Intimacies.
Though it would be impossible to circumscribe the multitude of subjects broached throughout this panel, highlights included an examination of what it is to work in the wake of black history and the acknowledgment of a past that is both past and present for black bodies. Christina Sharpe, through the metaphor and chronicled reality of the slave ship, conducted a beautiful reading of two passages from her novel, which roused both applause and appreciation from a marveling audience.
Throughout the event, the audience heard various outlooks and annotations on “wake-work” and the lives of black people contextualized by a burdened past and an ambition to not only overcome, but to thrive. For anyone who was not previously familiar with the authorial accomplishments of Christina Sharpe, this event was illuminating and very accessibly framed by the body of authors, professors, and movie producers that constituted the rest of the discussion panel. Sharpe was approachable and erudite in equal measures, conveying a beautifully crafted perspective of life in light of history, as well as an enlightening regard for the expectations of resilience pushed onto black lives.
Image via BCRW site