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Baldwin’s Transatlantic Reverberations: Between “Stranger in the Village” and I Am Not Your Negro

  • Author(s): Bacchetta, Paola
  • dos Santos Pinto, Jovita
  • Michel, Noemi
  • Purt, Pat
  • et al.
Abstract

James Baldwin’s writing, his persona, as well as his public speeches, interviews, and discussions are undergoing a renewed reception in the arts, in queer and critical race studies, and in queer of color movements. Directed by Raoul Peck, the film I Am Not Your Negro decisively contributed to the rekindled circulation of Baldwin across the Atlantic. Since 2017, screenings and commentaries on the highly acclaimed film have prompted discussions about the persistent yet variously racialized tempo- rospatial formations of Europe and the U.S. Stemming from a roundtable that fol- lowed a screening in Zurich in February 2018, this collective essay wanders between the audio-visual and textual matter of the film and Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village,” which was also adapted into a film-essay directed by Pierre Koralnik, staging Baldwin in the Swiss village of Leukerbad. Privileging Black feminist, post- colonial, and queer of color perspectives, we identify three sites of Baldwin’s trans- atlantic reverberations: situated knowledge, controlling images, and everyday sexual racism. In conclusion, we reflect on the implications of racialized, sexualized politics for today’s Black feminist, queer, and trans of color movements located in continental Europe—especially in Switzerland and France.

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