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Campus Activities

“The Fire Next Time: James Baldwin’s Prophetic Invitation” lecture by McKinley E. Melton, Ph.D.

March 30, 2022 March 30, 2022,
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Main Campus
Coad Science Building - Laughlin Auditorium

Details

Description

In James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time (1963), the prolific novelist, essayist, and public intellectual offers a searing analysis of the United States at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Though a text that powerfully and insightfully taps into its moment, there are many reasons why the essays, equal parts testimony and prophesy, continue to endure nearly sixty years after their publication. Baldwin's essays, framed as they are through personal reflection and social critique, compel readers to challenge the ideas and the institutions to which they have committed themselves and in which they have invested their faith. In the contemporary moment, just as in 1963, we are charged with the ever-deepening responsibility to critically examine the world around us, to better understand our place within it, and to creatively reimagine the world that may one day be. How does Baldwin's writing serve as a prophesy to understand, as well as an invitation to thoughtfully and productively confront, our current challenges? How has Baldwin prepared a 21st century audience for such a time as this?

Speaker Bio

McKinley E. Melton, Paxton Endowed Teaching Chair and Associate Professor of English at Gettysburg College, earned his Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Prior to joining the Gettysburg College faculty, Dr. Melton was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature at Hampshire College, from 2007-2012. He is also the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University, and a 2019-20 ACLS Burkhardt Fellow and Scholar-in-Residence at the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Dr. Melton’s teaching is designed to engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to 20th and 21st Century Africana literatures. Dr. Melton’s research—including his current book project, Claiming All the World as Our Stage: Contemporary Black Poetry, Performance, and Resistance—focuses primarily on the relationship between the rituals and traditions of Africana cultures and Black diasporan creative expression. Dr. Melton’s active scholarly agenda also includes published essays on the work and writing of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Danez Smith, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In-person and online. Check your email for the Zoom link.

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