The Department of English Language and Literature invites you to a public talk by Dr Jeanne-Marie Jackson (Johns Hopkins University). The event will be held on Zoom.
Title: “Objectivity as Prophecy: The Long View from West Africa in 1903”
Date and time: Thursday 2 November, 17:30
This is an online seminar. To obtain event details please send a message to departmnet.
ABSTRACT: This talk presents a literary reading of Gold Coast political history, focused mainly on legal-humanistic treatises by the Fante writer-statesmen J.E. Casely Hayford and John Mensah Sarbah. As the Fante intelligentsia around the turn of the twentieth century negotiated between an anti-colonial and pro-imperial politics, they also engaged in a long-term project of self-standardization. The treatise form worked well to wed the contemplation of character to the valorization of facts, resulting in an ideal of objectivity that was both culturally unique and universally redemptive. Who, they asked, had the capacity to see the whole truth, thereby making good on the British Empire’s broken promises?
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Jeanne-Marie Jackson is Associate Professor of English at Johns Hopkins, where she is also Senior Editor of ELH. She is the author of two books: The African Novel of Ideas (Princeton 2021) and South African Literature’s Russian Soul (Bloomsbury 2015), as well as dozens of essays in both scholarly and public-facing venues. She is currently at work on a third book called “Black Constitution: The Character of the Law in J.E. Casely Hayford’s West Africa,” and her co-edited critical edition of Casely Hayford’s novel Ethiopia Unbound will be published in Fall 2024. In 2021 she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.