Blackness and Latinidad in the Americas

Coordinated by José Muñoz and Tavia Nyong'o

“Between me and the other world” W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), “there is ever an unasked question … How does it feel to be a problem?” This work group will seek to apply Du Bois’s question to the racial formations of blackness and Latinidad in contemporary discourses of culturalheritage. We will focus attention on the multiple nuances of Du Bois’s  formulation, including:

i) the idea of the “problem” — the disruptive presence of minoritarian and racialized identities within and across national formations, in particular how the gap Du Bois articulates "between me and the other world" re-maps the Americas not only in terms of the North/South divide but also in terms of the color line —

ii) the relevance of affect – how it feels to be a problem, and how this affective state is performed in various venues — and —

iii) the “unasked” — how do “race” and racism remain unasked and therefore unanswered questions within contemporary discourses of cultural heritage? How is this state of suspended knowingness experienced — an experience Du Bois names double-consciousness — across black and Latino contemporary identities?


Amma y Ghartey-Tagoe, Judith Michelle Williams, Glaisma Perez-Silva, Piers Armstrong, José Muñoz, Maryvonne Neptune, Tavia Nyong'o