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Guest Lecture on Afro-Latin American Studies with Paulina Alberto (University of Michigan): Black Legend: The Extraordinary Raúl Grigera and New Stories of Afro-Argentina
In the Buenos Aires of the 1910s, Raúl Grigera (“el negro Raúl”) rose to fame as an icon of the city’s bohemian nightlife. A rare Black celebrity in a city painstakingly fashioned to showcase Argentina’s whiteness and Europeanness, Raúl appeared in hundreds of printed sources across all genres of the city’s popular culture. Yet as the century wore on, narrators of Raúl’s life presented him in racialized terms as an abject, clownish, servile plaything of the city’s elite. Mirroring dominant ideologies, these racial stories cast Raúl as the last Afro-Argentine, an aberration in the “white” nation. This talk reconsiders Raúl Grigera’s feat of celebrity, highlighting its potential to expose the destructive power of racial storytelling and to generate new stories that emphasize Black presences over absences.

May 5, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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