Nostalgia has received increasing attention for its role in shaping contemporary social and political life in the United States. Dr. Badia Ahad-Legardy distinguishes Afro-Nostalgia as a framework to think about the relationship between affect, black historical memory, and joy. Afro-Nostalgia: Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2021) mines black aesthetic practices that return to the past to generate good feelings for black audiences and makers. The past is not always available for black people as a site of good feelings, when one considers the realities of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and racial inequality. Yet, contemporary cultural producers explore nostalgia through the subjects of slavery, food, visual culture, and music. Ahad-Legardy weaves together personal reflections and analyzes an eclectic archive to show how black people can turn to the past as a foundation from which to build hope for the present and future. She shows that despite the real traumas of the past and present for African Americans, nostalgia has the capacity to produce black joy.
Dr. Badia Ahad-Legardy is a Professor in the Department of English and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Loyola University Chicago. She is also the author of Freud Upside Down: African American Literature and Psychoanalytic Culture from the University of Illinois Press.
Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
Reighan Gillam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creations.