In context of the early 1960s Civil Rights Movement, the Black Nationalist aspirations of Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) make the group seem ahead of its time. RAM developed a political program for African American autonomy in the Northern cities while much of the country was focused on the South and the struggle for integration. RAM’s “speculative fiction” encompasses their elaborate and prescient vision of things to come, including urban riots, armed self-defense groups, and other characteristics that came to be associated with the Black Power era. In his presentation, Sean Lovitt will examine this cultural production as a literary forerunner to Black Arts and Black Power, arguing that the habitual exclusion of RAM’s writing from the cultural history of the 1960s comes at the cost of a significant link between the Civil Rights and Black Power eras.
Sean Lovitt is a PhD candidate in English Literature at the University of Delaware and the Graduate International Exchange Fellow at the University of Graz with research interests in the print culture of the Underground Press of the 1960s. His dissertation “Mimeo Insurrection” brings together the writings of an array of publications from the period, including Umbra, Black Panther Newspaper, Floating Bear, and Black Mask. More broadly, his interest in dissident writing extends across the long history of the book and printed ephemera from zines to avant-garde little magazines to black magic manuals.
Date and place:
April 24, 2018
HS 10, 12-13:00