Whiteness and the Aesthetics of Nostalgia 


African American poet Claudia Rankine, a professor at Yale University, speaks to the human condition in all its many manifestations. A winner of the 2016 MacArthur Fellowship and author of five poetry collections, including Citizen—An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Rankine candidly and critcally uses poetry and prose to explore what it means to be an American citizen in a “post-racial” society.

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When thinking about how the foundational myths of cultural national identity coalesce, many of the artists in our season look at who and what nostalgia erases from the story. But we asked celebrated poet Claudia Rankine—who has devoted her MacArthur grant to creating the Racial Imaginary Institute—to share her thoughts on how ideas about whiteness are sustained by a culture of nostalgia in America.

 

—Ryan Davis, Associate Director of Engagement and Public Programs