Hazel Carby - "Imperial Intimacies"

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Hazel Carby

"Angry and lyrical, uncompromising and vivid, Imperial Intimacies is a daughter’s reckoning with the bitter legacies of slavery and colonialism as they come to shape the lives of families and individuals, their dreams and desires."—Alison Light, author of Common People

Hazel Carby discusses Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: A haunting and evocative history of British empire, told through one woman’s search through her family’s story.  “Where are you from?” was the question hounding Hazel Carby as a girl in post-World War II London. One of the so-called brown babies of the Windrush generation, born to a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, Carby’s place in her home, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.  Emerging from this setting, Carby untangles the threads connecting members of her family to each other in a web woven by the British Empire across the Atlantic. We meet Carby’s working-class grandmother Beatrice, a seamstress challenged by poverty and disease. In England, she was thrilled by the cosmopolitan fantasies of empire, by cities built with slave-trade profits, and by street peddlers selling fashionable Jamaican delicacies. In Jamaica, we follow the lives of both the “white Carbys” and the “black Carbys,” as Mary Ivey, a free woman of colour, whose children are fathered by Lilly Carby, a British soldier who arrived in Jamaica in 1789 to be absorbed into the plantation aristocracy. And we discover the hidden stories of Bridget and Nancy, two women owned by Lilly who survived the Middle Passage from Africa to the Caribbean.  Moving between the Jamaican plantations, the hills of Devon, the port cities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Kingston, and the working-class estates of South London, Carby’s family story is at once an intimate personal history and a sweeping summation of the violent entanglement of two islands. In charting British empire’s interweaving of capital and bodies, public language and private feeling, Carby will find herself reckoning with what she can tell, what she can remember, and what she can bear to know.

About the author: Hazel V. Carby is a co-author of The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain and author of Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African America; Race Men; and Reconstructing Womanhood. For three decades she taught at Yale as the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637