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Translating Selves, Translating Media: Experimental Black Life Writing in Yrsa Daley-Ward's Work

This lecture by Jennifer Leetsch will explore the work of Black British writer and Instagram poet Yrsa Daley-Ward in order to tease out new experimental forms of black life writing in on- and offline media, and to activate critical engagement with questions of authorship and authority, identity and belonging. The talk will first examine Daley-Ward's work along the lines of its aesthetic, collaborative and socio-economic practices, and secondly locate it within a twenty-first-century context of digital spaces of online self-expression and social media.
This approach, located the intersection of postcolonial studies and digital media studies, updates and reinvigorates discussions about the shifting technologies of the self, in order to place them in a dialogue with more connective, translational aesthetic strategies to tell stories of the self on- and offline. Combining theories of collaborative autobiography and visual and digital life writing, Leetsch's paper will argue that by making her art available to an online audience, Daley-Ward generates spaces of participation and emancipation which contribute to new forms of world-wide relationality.

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Jennifer Leetsch is postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bonn's excellence cluster, the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, where she is currently working on a project which connects black life writing to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century ecologies.
She has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Würzburg, and has recently held fellowships and guest lectureships at the University of Melbourne, the University of Glasgow and JNU Delhi.
Her first book on contemporary Afro-diasporic women's writing appeared with Palgrave in 2021, and she has published widely on black women writers from the nineteenth century, such as Mary Prince and Mary Seacole, to Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Adichie and Warsan Shire today.

Moderated by Christina Slopek-Hauff, M.A.

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