Jeremy M. Glick, "The Black Radical Tragic: Performance, Aesthetics, and the Unfinished Haitian Revolution" (NYU Press, 2016)


What if the Haitian Revolution, perhaps the only “successful” Black revolution in history, weren’t over?

On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews Dr. Jeremy Matthew Glick (h/h) about how and why the Haitian Revolution, which was the only slave rebellion to achieve state sovereignty, remains an inspired site of investigation for artists and activist-intellectuals in the African Diaspora.

In The Black Radical Tragic: Performance, Aesthetics, and the Unfinished Haitian Revolution (NYU Press, 2016), Dr. Glick examines twentieth-century performances engaging the revolution as laboratories for political thinking. Asking readers to consider the revolution less a fixed event than an ongoing and open-ended history resonating across the work of Atlantic world intellectuals, Glick argues that these writers use the Haitian Revolution as a watershed to chart their own radical political paths, animating, enriching, and framing their artistic and scholarly projects. Spanning the disciplines of literature, philosophy, and political thought, The Black Radical Tragic explores work from Lorraine Hansberry, Sergei Eisenstein, Edouard Glissant, Malcolm X, and others, ultimately enacting a speculative encounter between Bertolt Brecht and C.L.R. James to reconsider the relationship between tragedy and revolution. In its grand refusal to forget, The Black Radical Tragic demonstrates how the Haitian Revolution has influenced the ideas of freedom and self-determination that have propelled Black radical struggles throughout the modern era.

Read Slavoj Zizek’s review of The Black Radical Tragic in the Los Angeles Review of Books: “A Prophetic Vision of Haiti’s Past”

We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts.

Your Host

Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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