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Sites of Memory: A Symposium on Toni Morrison and the Archive

Thu, 3/23 · 2:00 pmSat, 3/25 · 6:30 pm · Lewis Arts complex

Sites of Memory: A Symposium on Toni Morrison and the Archive brings together scholars, artists, writers, and activists to celebrate, interrogate, and reflect upon the archive in relation to Toni Morrison’s writing, her teaching, and her public intellectual work. The event is part of a year of programming surrounding the Spring 2023 exhibition Toni Morrison: Sites of Memory. While Morrison’s literary output is well known, this symposium breaks new ground by inviting attendees to think with her archive, the Toni Morrison Papers, about less recognized aspects of her art: her composition practices, her unpublished writings, and her daily life as a teacher at Princeton. In presentations, conversations, and performances, participants and attendees will think capaciously about the archive, taking it up as performance, as idea, and as something that gets articulated in published and un-published work. Across three days, we will explore the scope of Morrison’s archive, its central place in Princeton’s history and intellectual life, and its status as an entry point for reconsidering Morrison’s creative work and the way it continues to shape art, writing, and performance.

Taking inspiration from Morrison’s investment in collaboration and innovative programming, the symposium’s schedule includes: a keynote lecture; a plenary conversation; five roundtables curated by Morrison scholars; commissioned performances by artists Mame Diarra Spies and Daniel Alexander Jones at The McCarter Theatre;  and additional campus programming. Across these events, the symposium emphasizes how the Morrison Papers is very much a living archive–a site of collaboration, innovation, and experimentation. 

The symposium, a Humanities Council Magic Project, will convene on Thursday, March 23 at 5pm and will close on Saturday evening, March 25th. Our opening keynote on Thursday afternoon features Edwidge Danticat followed by an opening reception. Saturday afternoon’s closing plenary features  Evie Schokley and Alison Saar and will be followed by a closing reception. 

You can find the full program here.

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