Toni Morrison’s Sphere of Influence Celebrated at Landmark Princeton Symposium

April 3, 2023
Autumn Womack and Kinohi Nishikawa at the Toni Morrison Symposium Symposium co-organizers Autumn Womack (left), associate professor of African American studies and English, and Kinohi Nishikawa (right), associate professor of English and African American studies, greet the audience, introducing a series of “curated conversations” to celebrate and explore the impact and possibilities of the Morrison archive — “the site where memory and imagination confront each other,” Womack said. Photo by Tori Repp/Fotobuddy

The University homepage featured highlights from Sites of Memory: A Symposium on Toni Morrison and the Archive, a 2022-23 Humanities Council Magic Project organized by Autumn Womack (African American Studies and English) and Kinohi Nishikawa (English and African American Studies).

Illuminating the scope and impact of Morrison’s archive — housed in Princeton University Library — on past, present and future generations of scholars, students and artists, the symposium opened with a keynote address by the eminent Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat. Five lively panels with leading Morrison scholars, as well as writers, filmmakers and artists, gathered rich insights and conducted inspiring conversations. The event concluded with a dynamic plenary conversation with poet and scholar Evie Shockley and artist Alison Saar.

The three-day event was part of a campus-wide exploration of Morrison’s creative process; its centerpiece is the exhibition “Toni Morrison: Sites of Memory” at Princeton University Library, curated by Womack, on view through June 4. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Department of African American Studies and the Department of English.

Morrison joined the Humanities Council as the inaugural Robert G. Goheen Professor in the Humanities in 1989, where she held the position for 17 years until retiring in the summer of 2006.

Read the full story on the University homepage.

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