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Book Club 1 --> Shades of Black by Nathalie Etoke

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$5 – $25

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Friendly guided discussion of Shades of Black followed by a conversation with Nathalie Etoke!

About this event

Featuring Nathalie Etoke's SHADES OF BLACK

Conversation and book club will be hosted by Bhakti Shringarpure.

Book Club!

May 11th Tuesday

11am New York | 2 pm Yaoundé | 3pm Paris

The author will join the book for the final half hour to chat with members of the book club.

Conversation with Nathalie Etoke

May 11th Tuesday

12.30pm New York |5.30pm Yaoundé | 6.30 pm Paris

About the Book

One might say that the womb of death—the Middle Passage, slavery, and colonization—gave birth to Black populations. Taking this observation as her point of departure, Nathalie Etoke examines Black existence today in her riveting new book, Shades of Black. In a white-supremacist world, Black bodies hold a specific position, invested with a range of meaning that maintains them in a fixed role, with a script they did not write. The white world has invented and defined the Black person according to its own interests, endowing her with a bereaved humanity. The Black person is confronted with an essential paradox—exist as Black or as a human being? Does the Black person exist for herself or for the other? In the white world, is the Black race the embodiment of a sub-humanity?

Situated at the crossroads of three countries—Cameroon, France, and the United States—Etoke is uniquely positioned for this polyphonic reflection on race. She examines what happens when race obliterates historical, social, cultural, and political differences among populations of African descent from different parts of the world. Focusing on recent and ongoing topics in the United States, including the murder of George Floyd, police brutality, and the complex symbolism of Barack Obama and Kamala Harris, Etoke explores the relations of violence, oppression, dispossession, and inequalities that have brought us here, face to face with these existential questions: Are you breathing? Are we breathing?

About the Author

Nathalie Etoke is an associate professor of francophone and Africana studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Melancholia Africana: The Indispensable Overcoming of the Black Condition (2019), the original French edition of which received the Frantz Fanon Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association in 2012, and L’Écriture du corps féminin dans la littérature de l ’Afrique francophone au sud du Sahara (2010). In 2011 she directed Afro-Diasporic French Identities, a documentary on race, identity, and citizenship in contemporary France.

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