Pulitzer Prize-winning writer speaks on the ethics and aesthetics of cultural criticism: Margo Jefferson acclaimed writer, cultural critic, at UO may 10th
May 10 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
“How do we bring all the traditions that have shaped us—intellectual, social, and cultural—to complex questions of identity and community? How do we find language that gives them specificity and subtlety; that honors contradiction?” These are some of the questions Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, cultural critic, journalist, and professor Margo Jefferson, will address when she speaks on “The Ethics and Aesthetics of Cultural Criticism” on Wednesday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. in 182 Lillis Hall on the UO campus.
Jefferson goes on to say, “We speak, for example, of class, race, gender, and intersectionality; how do we live them and question their boundaries? How do we teach ourselves to go beyond the limits of our own experience? What intellectual, emotional, and imaginative tools do we need?”
The daughter of a prominent physician and social worker-turned-socialite mother, Jefferson grew up in an upper-middle class black neighborhood of Chicago in the 1950s and ‘60s. She writes about her experiences growing up in post-war America as a member of a privileged African American family in her memoir, Negroland, which won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, The International Bridge Prize, and The Heartland Prize. Negroland describes a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs—a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and “the masses of Negros,” and where the motto was “Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment.” At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America.
Jefferson currently teaches writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. Her previous book was On Michael Jackson. She has been a staff writer for The New York Times and Newsweek, and has published in New York Magazine, The Nation, and The Washington Post.