Marina Bilbija Receives Schomburg Center Fellowship

Marina Bilbija, Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies affiliated faculty, has been awarded the Scholars-in-Residence Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for the Spring of 2022. First established in 1925 with the collections of Arturo Schomburg, the Black Puerto Rican bibliophile, activist, and scholar, The Schomburg Center is a world-renowned repository of resources, ranging from archival collections of publications and photographs to audio recordings and visual arts. The center aims to support scholars and writers working on projects related to the study of African diasporic history, politics, and culture.

Marina’s work focuses on Afro-diasporic newspaper and magazine cultures between the 1860s and 1930s and she hopes to complete her book, Worlds of Color, through this fellowship program.Continue reading to learn more about this project!

Marina Bilbija

Worlds of Color narrates the emergence of a Black counter-public to the formation known as the “The English-speaking world.” Whether coining terms: “Anglo-African,” “Anglo-Fanti,” “Negro-Saxon,” or lampooning the so-called “Spirit of Anglo-Saxonism,” Black Anglophone editors scrambled the relationship between whiteness and Anglophone belonging by fashioning a Black Anglosphere. This Black Anglosphere grew from print networks that brought African American forms to 1860s and 1930s West Africa, and Ghanaian poems to inter-war Britain and Black America.

This book locates the prehistory of the field of the Global Anglophone in Black periodical networks, positing Black editors as precursors to the field’s contemporary theorists.

Bilbija shows how the reprinting practices of Black global newspaper networks in the nineteenth and early twentieth century can be understood as precursors to the retweets and “shares” of Black twitter today. Not only did these earlier print platforms recirculate news, debates, new critical terms, and literary texts across vast distances, they also replicated specific Black editorial practices. These editorial practices were, in fact, interpretative and representational methods for mapping global Blackness on the one hand, and the chimerical formation of the so-called English-speaking world on the other. Thus, when editors like Duse Mohamed Ali or Pauline Hopkins cut and pasted texts from different parts of the Black world, and mapped the connections between the oppression of Black and racialized subjects across multiple Anglophone regions, they generated new terms and new frameworks for understanding the racial regimes underpinning not one empire — but two. Because they were reprinting literary texts in addition to news, these periodical networks also created a vibrant Black literary culture that spanned two empires and three continents.

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Wesleyan University Arts and Humanities Division

Welcome to Wesleyan University’s Arts and Humanities news! Covering a variety of disciplines, there’s something for everyone. Find what interests you!

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