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Imperial Intimacies: Hazel Carby in conversation

  • Tue, 24 Sep 2019
  • 6.30 PM - 8.00 PM

“Where are you from?” was the question hounding Hazel Carby as a girl in post–World War II London. One of the so-called “brown babies” of the Windrush generation, born to a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, Carby’s place in her home, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.

Emerging from this setting, Carby untangles the threads connecting members of her family to each other in a web woven by the British Empire across the Atlantic. From her working-class seamstress grandmother Beatrice challenged by poverty and disease; we follow both the “white Carbys” and the “black Carbys”; the hidden stories of Bridget and Nancy who survived Middle Passage from Africa to the Caribbean. 

Moving between the Jamaican plantations, the hills of Devon, the port cities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Kingston, and the working-class estates of South London, Carby’s family story is at once an intimate personal history and a sweeping summation of the violent entanglement of two islands. In charting British Empire’s interweaving of capital and bodies, public language and private feeling, Carby will find herself reckoning with what she can tell, what she can remember, and what she can bear to know.

Join us to hear Hazel Carby discuss the book with Laurence Westgaph.

Tickets: £8/5

Hazel Carby is the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies, Professor of American Studies, and Director of the Initiative on Race Gender and Globalization at Yale University. Her books include Reconstructing Womanhood, Race Men, and Cultures in Babylon.





Laurence Westgaph is a political activist, local historian and broadcaster specialising in British black history and slavery. Awarded the Black Achievers Award for his work raising the profile of the history of Liverpool he’s appeared in and worked on a number of TV and radio programmes; including BBC Radio 4’s The Route of English with Melvyn Bragg, the History Channel’s 50 Things You Need To Know About British History and Britain’s Slavery Secrets. A founding member of the Liverpool Black Leadership Forum he’s writing his first book and working on his PhD.


This event is programmed in partnership with Verso Books and Writing on the Wall

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