A key figure in 21st-century North African literature and cinema, Abdellah Taïa is perhaps one of the only openly gay Moroccan writers and filmmakers. He visits Franklin & Marshall College April 3 to screen his first film, “Salvation Army,” and then to lecture and visit classes.
“Salvation Army,” considered autobiographical, debuted in 2013 and is adapted from Taïa’s book by the same name. Interview Magazine described the novel as “a valuable contribution not only to queer fiction but to North African diaspora literature as well.”
The film’s screening is 7 p.m. in the Life Sciences and Philosophy Building’s Bonchek Lecture Hall. Afterward, Taïa will discuss “Freedom Without Borders: On Gender, Sexuality and Identity in the Arab-Muslim World.” He’s considered a vital gay rights activist in the Arab world, and has published 10 novels in French, which have been translated into eight different languages.
Taïa’s visit is part of Africa Worldwide, a series of lectures, films, exhibits and student-led discussions begun last fall to examine cultural difference and diversity, social justice, and global conflict and interdependence. More than 10 academic departments and programs (from Italian to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies), along with several student organizations and campus offices, organized the yearlong series of events.
Events are open to the public. Others in the series this semester:
- March 2 – “Being Omu [female monarch], An African Analysis of Transformatory Power,” lecture by Nkiru Nzegwu, professor of Africana Studies, Binghamton University, 7 p.m., Stahr Auditorium. An artist, and a poet, Nzegwu is founder and editor of “JENDA: Journal of African Women’s Studies,” and the author of “Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture.” She has authored more than 100 book chapters, journal and catalogue articles, translations, and encyclopedia entries and reviews.
- March 29 – “The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of American Sociology,” lecture by Aldon Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Northwestern University, 7 p.m., Bonchek Lecture Hall. His book, “The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement,” which received several prizes including the American Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, emphasized the organizational and cultural basis of social protest. His more recent book, “The Scholar Denied,” explores why Du Bois’ work was marginalized by the sociological profession.
- April 13 – “The Communities Left Behind: Race, Health and Policing in the 21st Century,” Abigail Sewell, assistant professor of sociology at Emory University, Common Hour, 11:30 a.m., Mayser Gymnasium. Sewell is founder of the Race and Policing Project, a collaborative effort to curate research at the intersections of racial inequality and criminal injustice for community consumption and usage.
- April 13 – “The Film Art of Randy Wilkins ’01,” screening and lecture by Randy Wilkins, 7-9 p.m., Bonchek Lecture Hall. Wilkins is founder/writer/director of Pam’s Son Productions and editor of the production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. He is an Emmy Award winning, director, cinematographer and editor.
- The Modern Caribbean, a student-led panel discussion with the African and Caribbean Students Association. Date and location to be announced.