Dr. Antonia Gabriela P. de Araújo presented her work to a Rutgers Newark audience on 19 April 2022 as part of a program organized by Prof. Laura Lomas and co-sponsored by the CLAS.
Dr. Araújo's lecture/performance offered a timely meditation on how writing itself can be an act of resistance and self-emancipation. Dr. Antonia Gabriela P. de Araújo, who has recently received an award for her doctoral dissertation that earned her a Research Affiliate position at Harvard University Hutchins Institute starting in fall 2022, described how her own writing process required fortitude given the ongoing threats to the existence of persons of indigenous and African descent in Brazil, with her former colleague and friend Marielle Franco as a case in point.
Dr. Araújo began by invoking the writing of Carolina de Jesus in Quarto de Despejo, whose handwritten manuscripts found in a favela document the writing life and resistance of black women. Dra P. de Araújo situated herself as a survivor too, as the daughter of an indigenous father who survived prison, and an African-descended mother who worked in domestic service. Her personal anecdotes enabled the audience to see connections between her theoretical work, social realities, and the writing of novelists, poets and critics of the African diaspora including Jamaica Kincaid, Carolina de Jesús, Conceicao Evaristo, Gayl Jones, M. Jacqui Alexander.
The performance involved sounds of a calimba (an African instrument), singing and movements that are done collectively as an activation of our stepping on the earth and taking root - grounding.
Natural forces have also sustained us, have made possible the survival of diasporic subjects, including the experiences of Latinx and Latin American subjects of the African-diasporas that figure in literary texts by the writers under consideration in this lecture. Dr P. de Araújo discussed Erotic Autonomy and masculinity and feminity in surprising terms, as forces that can coexist in the same person or entity, much as they do in the orixa Oxumare and Yassam, or the archetype that represents wind and storms. Students encountered this Brazilian and Caribbean Afraamerican cosmology as a framework for understanding the characters in the novels, and for thinking about survival in the face of difficult conditions during and after the pandemic.
We thank Dr. Antonia Gabriela P. de Araújo for a truly transformative morning of live, direct, in-person connection. Her words offered inspiration and a model for students and faculty as they are composing their research and final essays inspired by this literary and theoretical tradition. I also want to thank our sponsors and cosponsors, the English Department at Rutger University-Newark, the Clement Price Institute, the American Studies Program, the Department of African-American studies and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Edward Veloso, a student of Brazilian and Mozambican descent, assisted with the translation. Two powerhouse alumni (activists from the early 1980s), Bernadette Scott and Gloria Montealegre, joined us and expressed their desire to continue to forge connections between local school districts and sister institutions such as Plainfield School district, Essex Community College and NJIT in future.
Prof. Laura Lomas, Rutgers University--Newark
For the recording of the event. Passcode: F$iRV5d#