$65 – $75

After This Our Exile: Search & Diaspora in McKay’s Romance in Marseille

Actions and Detail Panel

$65 – $75

Event Information

Share this event

Date and time

Location

Location

Online event

Refund policy

Refund policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

Event description
Join CI for the next Writing Between Cultures seminar, After This Our Exile: Search and Diaspora in Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille

About this event

Claude McKay’s posthumously published novel Romance in Marseille opens on a 1920s hospital ward in New York, with the African immigrant protagonist Lafala lamenting the loss of his legs, which have been amputated after a horrific shipboard confinement in a latrine. The novel focuses on the aftermath of the surgery. Lafala struggles to stay financially and emotionally whole when he’s returned to the polyglot port city of Marseille. He has to rethink his life and prospects on prosthetic legs. And he also must navigate a host of hazards when a large financial settlement from the shipping company makes him a target for villains, scammers, political idealists, pimps, exploited sex workers, ambitious small business owners, and desperate people of all stripes.

Inspired by real events in the life of McKay’s Nigerian friend Nelson Simeon Dede, Romance in Marseille is a novel of search and pilgrimage, but with a twist. Because, rather than being motivated by any clear aim, Lafala’s perpetual travel is digressive and seemingly haphazard. McKay’s gripping plot twists and vivid descriptions of people and places make it easy to focus on Lafala’s immediate interpersonal and material challenges. But Romance in Marseille also offers its readers three related moral challenges: to think deeply about what faith and virtue mean in a fallen world, to question the role bourgeois respectability plays in racial uplift, and to piece together the ways in which individual and community suffering are the results of structural racism and colonial oppression.

Written by one of the most important writers of the Harlem Renaissance more than a decade before he converted to Catholicism, Romance in Marseille also offers readers the opportunity to consider the ways McKay’s early work about diasporic suffering and injustice relates to his later faith-inspired writing on those same topics, and to think about how both might fit into the broader corpus of Catholic literature.

This seminar was organized by Terence Sweeney (Theologian-in-Residence at Collegium Institute) and Chiyuma Elliott (UC Berkeley).

Details

Dates & Time: 7:00pm–8:30pm ET on June 10, June 17, June 24, and July 1 (optional)

Facilitators & Schedule: This seminar comprises three discussions, each led by Chiyuma Elliott and a special guest facilitator, as well as one optional concluding session led by Terence Sweeney.

Zoom Information: This seminar will be held virtually via Zoom. We will send the Zoom link to all registrants in early June.

Registration Fees & Deadlines:

  • Early Bird Registration (ends May 10 at 11:59pm): $65
  • Regular Registration (ends June 1 at 11:59pm): $75

Reading Materials: Collegium Institute will provide a copy of Romance in Marseille for all registrants. Please note that we can only provide physical copies of the book to participants in the US; participants outside of the US will receive an eBook. Participants who sign up after May 10 may also receive an eBook depending on estimated shipping times at the time of their registration.

If you have any questions about this seminar, please don't hesitate to reach out to Terence Sweeney at tsweeney@collegiuminstitute.org.

---

This seminar is the final installment in the series, Writing Between Cultures: A Virtual Campus Seminar hosted by Collegium Institute and Dappled Things. In this series, we explore how literature can help us understand Catholicism in global contexts. To learn more about our previous Writing Between Cultures seminars, click here.

Share with friends

Date and time

Location

Online event

Refund policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

Save This Event

Event Saved