Author Saidiya Hartman presented a talk at York University on April 5 during a launch event for her new book Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval.
The event was presented by the Department of Humanities, Social & Political Thought, the Department of Visual Art & Art History and the LA&PS Research Events Fund, in partnership with Another Story Bookshop.
In her book, Hartman explores the revolution of Black intimate life during the start of the 20th century in Philadelphia and New York, when free love, serial partners, cohabitation outside of marriage, common-law and transient marriages, queer relationships and single motherhood were among some of the transformations during that time. These changes, as she outlines in her book, challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about love, marriage and courtship, and she narrates the story of this social transformation against the grain of the crisis of the Black family.
Hartman’s research is shared through a beautifully written story of the experience of young urban Black women who seek a life different from the one prescribed to them, and who are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape.
Hartman is a Guggenheim Fellow and has been a Cullman Fellow and Fulbright Scholar. She is a professor at Columbia University, and lives in New York.
She is also the author of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route and Scenes of Subjection