AAAS Research Symposium
On Tuesday, January 28, the African and African-American Studies (AAAS) Program hosted a symposium highlighting the research of Jaira Harrington, this year’s Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow, and two visiting international fellows, Yulian Wu and Chanté Kinyon. In the introductory speech, Associate Professor and Chair of AAAS Antonio D. Tillis welcomed the three presenters and thanked Dartmouth’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity for co-sponsoring the event.
Chanté Kinyon, a PhD candidate in English literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway, initiated the symposium by discussing race, language, and nation in the works of J.M. Synge and Zora Neale Hurston. Kinyon examined how Synge and Hurston both concentrated on documenting in their writing what they had witnessed on their various journeys and anthropological research trips.
Yulian Wu, a PhD candidate in American literature from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, China, was second to speak. Wu described her research on the work of Gloria Naylor, an American novelist who writes about utopian ideas. Wu described how Naylor’s utopian ideas have “evolved” in her novels. In her first novel, Naylor set the tone for her later writings by describing perpetual utopia as the “desire of a better way of being.” However, in subsequent writings, Naylor has switched her focus to dystopia and more recently to “blutopia”—a space that includes different cultures, philosophies, geographies, and races.
Lastly, Jaira Harrington, PhD candidate in political science at the University of Chicago and the current Dartmouth Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow, presented her dissertation research on how race, class, and gender identity figure into the recent legislative gains of domestic workers and their unions in Brazil. Harrington conducted interviews with domestic workers in the municipal labor unions of Brasília, São Paulo, and Salvador, Brazil.
After the symposium, the audience asked questions that led to an interesting discussion on the presenters’ work and future research directions.
by Gilbert Rahme