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Nella Larsen’s “Passing”: A Discussion
September 8, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
Our third program in an ongoing series on race in American culture will be a discussion of Nella Larsen’s “Passing.” This short novella explores an important but often-forgotten racial practice during the Jim Crow era: African-Americans “passing” as white in order to gain access to restricted spaces, groups, and social privileges. But as we’ll discuss, the novel does so much more: focused on the relationship between two women, Clare and Irene, Larsen’s story examines the competing pressures of friendship, racial loyalty, and betrayal. This psychological thriller builds towards a set of complicated questions about what it means to have an identity and what one would risk to keep it. Copies of the book are available through Forsyth County Public Library.
About Dr. Ian Afflerbach
Dr. Ian Afflerbach is an Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of North Georgia, where he teaches and researches in 20th century American literature, political history, African-American studies, and the history of ideas. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and has lived in Montreal, Vermont, North Carolina, and Germany. His writing has appeared in journals like English Literary History, Modern Fiction Studies, and Studies in the Novel. He has been named a 2019 Fellow by the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies in Mainz, Germany.