Dagmawi Woubshet

Wolf Humanities Center Faculty Fellow

20182019 Forum on Stuff

Dagmawi Woubshet

Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Dagmawi Woubshet is the Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English. A scholar of African American literature and art, he works at the intersections of African American, LGBTQ, and African studies. He is the author of The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS (2015), and the co-edited volume Ethiopia: Literature, Art, and Culture, a special issue of Callaloo (2010). His writings have appeared in various publications including Transition, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and The Atlantic. He is currently completing a book on James Baldwin’s Late-Style, and the first English translation of Sebhat Gebre Egziabher’s 1966 Amharic novel, ሰባተኛው መላክ Säbatägnaw Mälak [The Seventh Angel]. Woubshet has been a fellow at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, and, as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Modern Art Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he curated Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show (2016).

Neglected Stuff: James Baldwin’s Late Style

Focusing on James Baldwin’s neglected latter writings and unpublished manuscripts, this project conceptualizes the author’s late style. By definition, late style assumes a particular temporality, since it emerges out of the last period of an artist’s life, as well as a particular materiality, since it gains its distinction in relation to the stuff that’s come before it. Mindful of late age and the corpus that precedes it, Baldwin’s 1980s writings evince a distinct style that departs significantly from the aesthetic and political terms of the civil rights era with which Baldwin’s work is closely (and narrowly) associated. This project assembles together a collection of the author’s neglected stuff that define his late style, and reclaims them for their potential to reorient our understanding of both Baldwin’s oeuvre and the concept of late style.