Blackness Unmoored: Relational Ethics and Aesthetics in Stromae’s “Formidable”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

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In this presentation, Dr. Lamothe will advance a theory of “blackness unmoored” through an analysis of the lyrics and music video for the song, “Formidable” by Stromae. Lamothe will invoke the metaphor of unmooring to convey the disorientation, and reorientation, of the subject who navigates contending social spaces, racial formations, and orientations to history. The musical and visual registers of Stromae’s text captures both the melancholy and potentiality of the subject who is racially othered and unhomed. Its portrayal of the African “stranger” set adrift in the European Union’s capital bears witness to the subject’s profound humanity, as well as to the material and psychic violence inflicted by structures founded on ideas of black nonbeing. Read more.

A light lunch will be served and parking is available in nearby parking decks. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

Daphne Lamothe is the 2017-2018 Humanities Writ Large visiting faculty fellow at Duke University. Lamothe is an associate professor of Africana Studies at Smith College where she teaches literature and cultural studies. Lamothe publishes on poetics and politics of space and place in Black Atlantic literatures and culture. In Lamothe forthcoming book, “Blackness, Being and Event” she examines ontological, phenomenological, and relational ideas of blackness in contemporary narratives of immigrant urbanity. Lamothe’s “Inventing the New Negro: Narrative, Culture, and Ethnography” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) was the 2009 runner-up for the MLA’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize.

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Event Location: 
John Hope Franklin Center, Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall