Christopher J. Lee

Penn Humanities Forum Regional Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Christopher J. Lee

Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, Lafayette College

Christopher J. Lee is an Associate Professor of History and Africana studies at Lafayette College. He has published five books including Making a World after Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (2010), Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa (2014), Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanism (2015), A Soviet Journey: A Critical Annotated Edition (2017), and Jet Lag (2017).  He is currently completing a reader on race and racial thought in Africa for Indiana University Press and an edited volume of previously uncollected essays by the South African novelist and activist Alex La Guma, provisionally entitled Culture and Liberation: Exile Writings, 1966-1985. His teaching and research interests concern modern African history, African literature, decolonization, postcolonial Cold War studies, and radical political thought.

Apartheid Afterlives: Ethics, Affect, and the Editorial Work of Mourning

This project examines the practice of editing and editorial work as techniques for generating literary and political afterlives. Based on a long-term endeavor to republish the memoirs, essays, stories, and radio plays of South African writer and anti-apartheid activist Alex La Guma (1925-1985), I would like to engage more deeply with the ethical implications, political value, and affective consequences of pursuing this type of academic work. Similar to translation, editing the voices of the dead carries an unusual set of responsibilities. I seek to apply more focused attention to this form of intellectual labor, by interrogating its methodologies and meanings.