MLK Day Lecture: "The Making of Americans: How to Remember Martin Luther King and Malcolm X"
“They turned King into more of a radical and made Malcolm look moderate,” a historian commented some time ago. "They” in this case meant the liberal-leaning media, but also academics, including scholars of cultural studies. What the comment
generally referenced was the sometimes surprising shifts and turns practices of public re-membering may take. Dr. Schäfer-Wünsche’s talk discusses the ways Dr. King and Malcolm X have been turned into quasi-compatible cultural icons, and it embeds these practices in reflections on the often contradictory processes of political/national self-positioning. If the title of her talk draws on Gertrude Stein’s monumental family saga, Dr. Schäfer-Wünsches takes up Stein’s insistence that ‘Americans’ are constantly being made and re-made. When it comes to public figures, Dr. Schäfer-Wünsche argues, this is much more pronounced and quite often truly striking.
Elisabeth Schäfer-Wünsche was a senior lecturer at the North American Studies program until 2017. She is especially interested in autobiography/memoir, the cultural and political weight of celebrity, African American studies, and effects of globalization. Among her recent publications is an entry on “Gender,” coauthored with Sabine Sielke and published in Bonner Enzyklopädie der Globalität (2017).
Ort: Universität Bonn | Senatssaal, Main building | Am Hof 1, 53113 Bonn