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Masterclasses with Prof Jerome Branche: Memory and History in (Hispanic) Afro-Caribbean Literature

Venue: Online

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In these masterclasses, Leverhulme Visiting Professor Jerome Branche will look at weekly units covering several interlocking topics including race, coloniality, the politics of memory, forced labor, liberation, and national identity in the context of the African diaspora as it relates mainly to the Hispanic Caribbean. Its primary texts, which consist of a documentary, autobiographies, a film, poetry, a novel, colonial edicts and other documents, all speak to the question of racialized being, and the representation of history; the latter understood as a contested terrain upon which statist power rests, and which may in turn be questioned by alternative liberatory discursive trajectories.

All the lectures will be online. 

You may attend any of the lectures, there is no need to attend all of them.

Wk. 1. June 8

Afro-Iberian beginnings, colonial subjectivity, forced labor and the racial taxonomy.

Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories, Miguel Angel Rosales. It is available for streaming for a modest price here:

Jerome Branche, “Iberian antecedents,” in Colonialism and Race in Luso-Hispanic Literature, 32-48. 

Jerome Branche, “Slavery and the Syntax of Subpersonhood,” Colonialism and Race in Luso-Hispanic Literature, 81-113.

Wk. 2. June 15

Slavery, a first-person accounting: Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiografía de un esclavo in the context of the “Repeating Plantation”

El otro Francisco, Sergio Giral, 1974. (Film). Available in Spanish YouTube without subtitles: Available to buy with subtitles in dvd format for a modest price:

Juan Francisco Manzano, William Luis, Ed. Autobiografía del esclavo poeta y otros escritos (autobiography). 2007. There is an electronic copy of the original Spanish version in Senate House: library:

You can buy a bilingual edition from:

Gerard Lawrence Aching, “In spite of himself: Unconscious Resistance and Melancholy in Manzano’s Autobiography,” Freedom from Liberation: Slave Sentiment and Literature in Cuba. 65-105.

Jerome Branche, “Sub-poena: Slavery, Subjugation, and Sufferation in Juan Francisco Manzano,” Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism, Vol 155, 2005, pp. 331-341.

Wk. 3. June 22

The Haitian Revolution as “national autobiography,” and Carpentier’s El reino de este


Alejo Carpentier, El reino de este mundo, 1975. (novel)

Michel Rolph-Trouillot, “An unthinkable history: The Haitian Revolution as a Non-event.” Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, 70-107.

Lizabeth Paravisini-Gevert, "The Haitian Revolution in Interstices and Shadows: A Re-Reading of Alejo Carpentier's "The Kingdom of This World", Research in African Literatures , Summer, 2004, Vol. 35, No. 2, Haiti, 1804-2004: Literature, Culture, and Art (Summer, 2004), pp. 114-127.

Wk. 4. June 29

Miguel Barnet’s Biografía de un cimarrón, Esteban Montejo and “maroon critique.”

Esteban Montejo, Miguel Barnet. Biografía de un cimarrón. 2010 (autobiography).

Michael Zeuske, “The cimarrón in the Archives: A Re-reading of Miguel Barnet’s Biography of Esteban Montejo.” NWIG/New West Indian Guide, 71.3/4 (1997):265-275..

Neil Roberts, Introduction and Chap. 1. Freedom as Maroonage. University of Chicago Press, 2015, pp. 1-50.

Wk. 5. July 6, 2022

After (the New) “Man”: Jesús Cos Causse, Socialism and neo-African ontology.

Jesús Cos Causse, items from Poesías selectas, 2021. A selection of poems translated by Jerome Branche will be discussed in the session.

Danielle Pilar Clealand, “Institutionalizing Ideology: Race and the Cuban Revolution.” The Power of Race in Cuba: Racial Ideology and Black Consciousness During the Revolution, 71-100.

Christina Sharpe, “The Wake.” In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Duke University Press, 20216, 1-22. 

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