Pleasure and the Pleasurable in Africa and the African Diaspora

This conference will be a lively interrogation of an uncommon theme in the scholarly study of Africa and the African diaspora: pleasure. The uncommonness is not surprising, given the constituent elements of the modern history of the African world in the last five centuries: slavery, colonialism, and the continuing challenges of postemancipation, civil rights and post-independence. Responding to this large historical canvas, the fields of African and African diaspora studies have, in large part, been dedicated to matters of the serious, the grave, the self-sacrificing, the resistant, and, indeed, the tragic; together, these represent the dominant composite accent of scholarly African and African diaspora studies. We propose an expansion of focus and the breath of fresh air that brings.