Special Event

Authors on Equality

Location: Auditorium, Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh (Map it)

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Arts Circle presents a day of artists’ responses to the idea of equality. Northwestern scholars and artists, with artists-in-residence and guests, present visual art, dance, creative writing, theatre and music exploring the concept and lived experience of equality.

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Authors on Equality
Rachel Jamison Webster, Jacqueline Battalora, and YZ Chin in conversation with Michelle Huang

“The achievement of human equality requires, among other things, the empowerment of human beings as language-using creatures,” writes Danielle Allen in “Our Declaration.”

Authors read from their work on the legal and personal repercussions about race from the founding of America to today.

Jacqueline Battalora's book, “Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today,” offers a thorough examination of the reasons and ways whites are treated differently by American law. This new book on race in America begins with the moment when “white people” were invented through legislation and the enforcement of laws. It explains how the creation of this distinction divided laborers and ultimately served the interests of the elite. It also examines how foundational law and policy were used to institutionalize the practice of white people holding positions of power.

Rachel Jamison Webster, Director of the English Major in Writing at Northwestern, is working on a personal history of confronting racism, “American Girl: Notes from a Divided Country.” She will read an excerpt, “Denial in the Bloodline,” which explores her ancestors' mixed race marriages, undertaken in the very years when the idea of "whiteness" was being legally constructed to support the slave trade. She will ask how her own family's denial and construction of whiteness mirrors that of the country.

YZ Chin reads from her first book, “Though I Get Home,” winner of the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, an initiative begun by the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine to lift up women writers of color. Called “complex and intimate” by prize judge Ana Castillo, this debut examines the tension between individual motivation and globalizing circumstance.

Michelle Huang is jointly appointed in the Northwestern English Department and in the Asian American Studies Program.  Her current project, “Molecular Aesthetics: Race, Form, and Matter in Contemporary Asian American Literature,” examines posthumanist aesthetics in post-1965 Asian American literature to trace racial formation at the molecular scale.

Seating is limited and online reservations are requested.

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