Black Folks From Babylon: Disappointment and Difference in the Key of Cairo Jazz
A Talk by Sophia Azeb
David Graham Du Bois’s 1975 novel ...And Bid Him Sing narrates the mistranslations between Egypt’s symbolic place in the Black radical imaginary and the lived experiences of African American expatriates in Egypt during the Cold War. While laying bare the tense and tangled intersections of racial, religious, and nationalist identity formation in Egypt, Du Bois’s novel also mobilizes a jazz vernacular and rhythm as a language through which Egyptians and their Black American neighbors become socially, culturally, and politically legible to one another. In her talk, Gallatin professor Sophia Azeb situates Du Bois’s novel and the Cairene jazz scene he put to page as part of an Afro-Arab cultural archive of difference that reimagines the place of North Africa within a broader genealogy of the African Diaspora.
Presented as a part of Gallatin’s Black History Month programming.