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“Aimé Césaire in the Era of Black Lives Matter”

Professor Frieda Ekotto will present a lecture as part of the African Studies Center Speaker Series (ASCSS) for Winter 2018.

Monday, February 12, 2018
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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This paper reads Aimé Césaire’s work as a continuation of the struggle for the dignity of Black people around the world. As a Francophone philosopher and poet, Césaire is a member of an important global lineage of Black intellectuals. Together with James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, and Claudia Rankin, Césaire’s work offers the historical background needed to understand Black lives in the second decade of the 20th century, and particularly the Black Lives Matter Movement. These thinkers first articulated enduring questions about the Black condition in the world and established why there will not be peace as long as Black lives continue to be crushed and their dignity ignored.


Frieda Ekotto is Chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. As an intellectual historian and philosopher with areas of expertise in 20th and 21st-century Anglophone and Francophone literature and in the cinema of West Africa and its diaspora, she concentrates on contemporary issues of law, race and LGBTQI issues. Her research focuses on how law serves to repress and mask the pain of disenfranchised subjects, and she traces what cannot be said in order to address and expose suffering from a variety of angles and cultural intersections, thus reassessing the position and agency of the dispossessed. In addition, she is also interested in examining the importance of Bandung as a cultural event and in the development of philosophical and political thought in the second half of the twentieth century. She has published numerous articles in prestigious literary Journals and author of six books such as What Color is Black? Race and Sex Across the French Atlantic (Lexington Press, 2011) concentrates on issues of race and the invention of the nègre. She is also co-author of Rethinking African Cultural Production (Indiana University Press, 2015).


She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Ford Foundation seed grant for research and collaborative work with institutions of higher learning in Africa and most recently a recipient of a John H. D’Arms Faculty Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring in the Humanities at the University of Michigan.  In 2014, she received the Nicolàs Guillén Award for the Caribbean Philosophical Association and in 2015, she received the Benezet Award from the Colorado Alumni Association Board.  She produced the film documentary Vibrancy of Silence : A Discussion with my Sisters (2017). In May 2018, she will receive an Honorary Degree from Colorado College.


Lunch will be served at this lecture.


For campus map, directions and transportation options to UCLA, please visit

Cost : Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day ($12) parking available in lot 3.

UCLA African Studies Center310-825-3686

Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Department of African American Studies