Category Archives: Talks

Hynek Pallas The Devil Finds Work

Throughout his life James Baldwin had a strong relationship with the film medium and dreamed of becoming a director. As a writer he came to reflect his own life and the American race issue through Hollywood movies. Based on Baldwin’s book “The Devil Finds Work” from 1976, Hynek Pallas talks about the authors film criticism, and how he analyzed society and the psychological needs of white America in it.

Hynek Pallas holds a PhD in Film studies. His dissertation “Whiteness in Swedish Cinema 1989-2010” was published in 2011. Pallas is a director, author and a critic for Göteborgs-Posten. His latest books deal with migration and the Roma in Central Europe.

JYOTI MISTRY: “White subjectivity inside the Black experience”

The issue of access or “the right to represent” remains fraught on a number of levels for writers and artists. White writers “speaking” of black experiences are challenged by black writers who question the authenticity of subjectivity or the veracity of pathos across racial identities.

Black writers on the other hand, are expected to draw from immediate lived-experiences or political positions which express racial identity politics with an assumed singularity.

What is considered relevant or “appropriate” subject matter for black writers? What identities presume positions from which subjectivities can be explored and expressed? How do the “observed lived-experiences” feature in the imagination in the work of writers and artists?

In Giovanni’s Room James Baldwin writes about the sexual experiences of white characters in Paris. He says of this decision: ‘‘I certainly could not possibly have—not at that point in my life—handled the other great weight, the ‘Negro problem’.

In this presentation, filmmaker Jyoti Mistry tackles her experience of working through white subjectivities from an experience of blackness. Using her film B.E.D (1998) and sections from Impunity (2014) she offers a set of speculations on how white subjectivity might be expressed from the position of the black experience and its politics thereof. The presentation includes screening and reading.

Jyoti Mistry is Professor in Film at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She works with film both as a research form and as a mode of artistic practice. She has made critically acclaimed films in multiple genres. Recent film works: When I grow up I want to be a black man (2017), Impunity (2014), 09: 21:25 (2011), Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (2010). Her work has screened at numerous festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, Kurzfilmtage in Winterthur, Rotterdam International Film Festival and Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris.

Select publications include: we remember differently: Race, Memory, Imagination (2012) a collection of essays inspired by her film which explores the complexity of racial identity in South Africa. Places to Play: practice, research, pedagogy (2017) explores the use of archive as an exemplar to rethink colonial images through “decolonised” film practices.

Mistry has been artist in residence in New York City, at California College of Arts (San Francisco), Sacatar (Brazil), at Netherlands Film Academy (Amsterdam) and a DAAD Researcher at Babelsberg Konrad Wolf Film University (Berlin). In 2016 she was recipient of the Cilect (Association of International Film Schools) Teaching Award in recognition for innovation in practices in film research and pedagogy. Currently, she is the principal research investigator on a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) cross cultural project that explores image-making practices stemming from the geo-economic alliance fostered on trade agreements.

Douglas Field: James Baldwin and the FBI

During the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI gathered evidence about the writer James Baldwin by tapping his phone conversations and sending agents to many of his public talks. By the mid-1970s, the FBI had gathered nearly two thousand pages of files, which were hidden to the public for decades. Why was Baldwin—a famous writer—considered a threat to national security? And what do his FBI files, which are now available to the public, tell us about Baldwin—and about the FBI?

Douglas Field is the co-founding editor of James Baldwin Review and the author of James Baldwin (2011) and All Those Strangers: The Art and Lives of James Baldwin (2015). He is senior lecturer in 20th century American literature at The University of Manchester, UK.

The James Baldwin Soundtrack

How does James Baldwin’s writing sound through music? Here is a proposed soundtrack. All of the artists show up in his texts. The playlist is still being developed but consider it complete. The criteria is that all artists must have been explicitly named in one of Baldwin’s novels, essays, or other literary works. The one exception to the rule is Babatunde Olatunji’s best selling album The Drums of Passion (1960), the choice motivated by the fact that the Nigerian artist performed at Baldwin’s funeral. The selection of specific songs is—in the case that only an artist, but not a song, is mentioned—chosen from context. James Baldwin declared in “The Uses of the Blues” (1964) that he knew “nothing about music,” but the James Baldwin Soundtrack indicates quite the contrary.


Radical politics in a time of extreme inequality: in his new book The Socialist Manifesto, Bhaskar Sunkara explores the history and future of socialism, showing that socialism is not just an economic system but a weapon against all forms of oppression, including racism and sexism. According to Sunkara, the ultimate goal is to give everyone the right to healthcare, education, and housing, and to create new democratic institutions. In a lecture at the Museum of World Culture, Sunkara will present some of the historical and contemporary themes dealt with in the book. Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor and publisher of the journal Jacobin. Moderator: Lovisa Broström, PhD, researcher at the Department of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg. Arranged in collaboration with Tankekraft and the Museum of World Culture.



This May will see the release of two new translations of the noted American poet and critic Joshua Clover into Swedish: Riot Strike Riot, published by Tankekraft förlag, and Red Epic, published by Nirstedt/litteratur. In Riot Strike Riot, Clover examines the conditions for, and the consequences of, the riots that swept the world over the last decades. Clover tries to unravel the relationship between crises and forms of resistance, asking whether riots during financial crises have the same function as strikes did under industrial capitalism. Joshua Clover (b. 1962) is a poet and activist, part of a literary current known as Post-Crisis Poetics. He teaches at University of California Davis, and writes music and film criticism. The talk will be followed by a discussion led by Johannes Björk, Ph.D. candidate in comperative literature, critic, and translator.


Göteborgs Konsthall present a full day program on James Baldwin’s life and work. Welcome to a book launch of the new Swedish edition of Baldwin’s legendary essay The Fire Next Time, a screening of Karen Thorsens documentary The Price of the Ticket and a conversation between writer Aleksander Motturi and Håkan Bravinger, editor Norstedts förlag. For more info see here.