Intimacy and the Afro-Asian Imaginary during the 1930s

Date: Nov 29, Wed
Time: 5-6PM BJT

Freedom lab presents “Intimacy and the Afro-Asian Imaginary during the 1930s” with Dr. Owen Walsh from the University of Aberdeen.

Archives of Black travel in Asia during the1930s testify to the ways that Afro-Asian solidarities were forged through multiple forms of intimacy. Whether in crowded traincars, around dinner tables, or in lovers’ beds, personal and political relations between Black travelers and their Asian hosts were impossible to disentangle. This talk examines the different kinds of intimacy through which Langston Hughes, Juanita Harrison, and Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman became agents of Afro-Asian alliance. It argues that Black narratives and archives of travel proved important spaces for the performance of an Afro-Asian solidarity in opposition to global white supremacy, even as they struggled to operate beyond the Orientalist imaginaries characteristic of that system.