Black on Both Sides: Internationalism and Visuality in the Struggle for Mexico Negro
Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series. All welcome but please email Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings. A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.
Dr Danny Widener
This paper examines the growth of organizing around blackness in Mexico during the last two decades through a tripartite focus on the link between visual culture, academic research, and political organizing. To this end, it begins with a discussion of a museum exhibition organized by the Chicago-based National Museum of Mexican Art. Attention next turns to the presence of people of African descent from outside Mexico, assessing their contribution to the larger process of black organizing in Mexico. These organizers played a key role in helping local activists devise what one sociologist, writing in another context, has described as a “common grammar of social experience,” that connected disparate villages throughout Mexico with the wider world of the African diaspora. Third, it provides an overview and assessment of the organizational forms and goals of black organizations in Mexico. Here, questions regarding terminologies of self-definition, political interventions within the wider national context, the role of cultural activity, and the relationship between black and Indian mobilization are all taken up.
Danny Widener is a visiting fellow at CRASSH during the 2018-2019 academic year, during which time he will also be in residence at Wolfson College. He teaches Modern American history at the University of California at San Diego with a focus on expressive culture and political radicalism. He began his educational career at the Echo Park-Silverlake Peoples’ Childcare Center before studying at Berkeley and New York University. He is the author of Black Arts West: culture and struggle in postwar Los Angeles, and is the co-editor of two volumes, Another University is Possible and Black California Dreamin’: the crisis of California’s African American communities. He is currently completing a book entitled Third Worlds Within: black radicalism and interethnic relations in 20thCentury America. He is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.