Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and University of Illinois Press
About the book: As early as the eighteenth century, white Americans and Europeans believed that people of African descent could not experience nostalgia. As a result, black lives have been predominately narrated through historical scenes of slavery and oppression. This phenomenon created a missing archive of romantic historical memories. Badia Ahad-Legardy mines literature, visual culture, performance, and culinary arts to form an archive of black historical joy for use by the African-descended. Her analysis reveals how contemporary black artists find more than trauma and subjugation within the historical past. Drawing on contemporary African American culture and recent psychological studies, Ahad-Legardy reveals nostalgia’s capacity to produce positive emotions. Afro-nostalgia emerges as an expression of black romantic recollection that creates and inspires good feelings even within our darkest moments.
About the author: Badia Ahad-Legardy is an associate professor in the Department of English and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture.
About the interlocutor: Kaneesha Cherelle Parsard writes about the legacies of slavery and emancipation in the Caribbean and broader Americas, with an emphasis on how gender and sexuality structure race, labor, and capital. Kaneesha is currently working on her first book project, An Illicit Wage. She is assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago.