Conférence – Ayesha Ramaschandran, « Petrarch’s Africancanzoniere: Lyric Anthropology and the Question of Race »

AYESHA RAMACHANDRAN
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Yale University

Thursday, November 4, 2021
12:30 PM (20:30 Paris/Bruxelles)

CMRS-CEGS / Department of Comparative Literature Co-Sponsored Lecture


Is the rhetoric of Petrarchan poetry a foundational discourse of early modern race-making? And what might it mean to investigate early modern lyric as site for reflection about race and cross-cultural difference? This talk returns to Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, often described as the urtext of modern lyric poetry, to reveal its textual and conceptual entanglement with his unfinished epic Africa. Professor Ramachandran suggests that the lyric dynamics of self/other in the canzoniere are, at their source, bound up with the challenge of racial and cultural crossing—and that it is this submerged political valence that gives Petrarchan lyric its global mobility and power. Locating the question of alterity between lyric thinking and anthropological thought from the early modern period onward, she considers how “lyric” as a category might be reimagined as a distinct mode of thinking and engaging with the world.

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