DepositHughes, Cullen, and the In-sites of Loss

This essay explores how Pierre Nora’s sites of memory work a specific cultural function through what Melvin Dixon refers to as “a memory that ultimately rewrites history.” I look at two of the most well-known poems of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes’s “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and Countee Cullen’s “Heritage,” one of which reveals a vested interest in producing identity by turning to the body as a locus of cultural memory, while the other ostensibly seeks to dismantle what it articulates as a fundamentally nostalgic and politically dangerous structuration of memory. The essay ends with the Harlem Renaissance poet Helene Johnson, who offers an embodied and emboldened approach to thinking about memory in the present.

MemberJoan Tumblety

I am a historian of 20th-century France, with a special interest in cultural and gender history, and more recently in the history of health and medicine. I have published on such topics as the collaborationist press, 1940-1944, and its rehabilitation after the war; the obsessions of early to mid-twentieth-century physical culturists with masculinity, eugenics and national decline; and on aspects of the interwar radical right. I am currently working on a social and cultural history of natural health cures in early to mid 20th-century France, the cultural work of physicians, the presentation of science and medicine at the 1937 Paris world’s fair, and the emergence of self-help literature across the century.

ReplyReply To: Introductions

Although I’m doing a PhD at Sussex University on debtors’ sanctuaries in c18th London, I have a strong interest in Spain & Spanish history, which I’d like to develop more seriously. Especially interested in digitial history, and using computational techniques on historical data.

MemberRebecca Haidt

18th-19th C cultures, literatures; comparative studies; gender, sexuality; material culture; cultural history; Spain; Spain-Cuba and Spain-North Africa 18th-19th centuries; convict transport history; labor history and history of women’s work; fashion and costume history; Madrid; Iberian studies; Enlightenment; book history; translation; media studies; popular culture; popular theatre; prose fiction; European literary history; history of ideas.

MemberGreity Gonzalez Rivera

Greity Gonzalez Rivera is a third-year Ph.D candidate in the literature track. She holds a B.A. in Art History from the Universidad de La Habana, and a M.A in Hispanic-American Literature from Florida International University. Her current research interests include the field of neoliberalism and editorial industries and 20th Century Latin American literature from Post-Boom to the present.

MemberKatharine Trostel

Katie Trostel earned her PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She serves as Assistant Professor of English at Ursuline College where she has a special interest in Latin American women’s writing, composition, and the digital humanities. Her research project is entitled, “Memoryscapes: Women Chart the Post-Trauma City in 20th- and 21st- Century Latin America.” It examines the treatment of urban space and memories of state-sponsored violence in the works of Latin American women writers of the post-trauma or post-dictatorship generation. She analyzes a largely unexplored archive of contemporary fiction that represents public spaces in the post-trauma city, and negotiates the relationship between collective and individual memory. Her work demonstrates the central role of women in debates over the public memorialization of state-sponsored violence in Argentina (Tununa Mercado), Chile (Nona Fernández), Mexico (Ana Clavel), and Peru (Karina Pacheco Medrano), and extends theories of memory and urban space by arguing that fictional cityscapes serve as primary sites through which difficult national memories are worked through. She also serves as the coordinator of the Venice Ghetto Collaboration.