Colonial and Postcolonial Print Mobilities: Black Periodicals and Local Publications, 1880-present

Colonial and Postcolonial Print Mobilities: Black Periodicals and Local Publications, 1880-present

Stephanie Newell, Yale University; Jack Webb, Newcastle University
Newcastle University
United Kingdom
From - Until
10.06.2020 - 12.06.2020
Stephanie Newell

This workshop will explore local and global networks of circulation for literary and political writing produced by black authors, editors and readers, and will showcase the rich resources in Newcastle University’s archives on black print networks in Africa, Britain and the Caribbean. We will look at how colonial-era networks were established locally and allowed the circulation of ideas about anti-colonialism and literary production through “print mobility,” that is, the dissemination of newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets across black transcontinental and transatlantic readerships.

Periodicals and pamphlets, with their wide circulation, were often subject to censorship (especially if they espoused anti-colonial ideas), but at the same time allowed for the creation of reading publics and counter-publics. At the core of our workshop is the question: to what extent should our understandings of black counter-publics, transcontinental networks, and “world” literatures more generally, be filtered through the prism of the “local”? We are interested in how diverse conceptualisations of political writing and “literary value” evolved in local contexts, and what happens to notions of literature when we ground them in the locales and ephemeral materiality of newsprint.

Wednesday 10th June 1pm-5pm, Archive Research Skills Workshop for PhD students; Thursday 11th June 9am-5:30pm & Friday 12th June 9am-2:30pm, Print Mobilities: Black Periodicals and Local Publications, 1880-present

Plenary speaker: Professor Kwame Dawes

Keynote speakers: Dr Leslie James, Dr Ranka Primorac, Dr Jack Webb

We invite short (15 min) presentations on the following questions, among others:

- What is the relationship between transcontinental print networks and local contexts of production?

- What kind of “worlds” and intellectual traditions are produced in locally published materials?

- Do newspapers and periodicals propel new publics into existence?

- How are transcontinental print networks shaped by political censorship in local contexts?

- How does print culture relate to other, more intangible, anti-colonial media and action such as (but not limited to) oral traditions, music or protest?

- How important is gender (and other core markers of identity) to how we conceptualise colonial/postcolonial print and print mobilities?

- What assertions and subversions of identity did newsprint enable in (post)colonial contexts of power?

Please send short abstracts to Stephanie Newell ( and Jack Webb ( by January 16th 2020.


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Stephanie Newell

Jack Webb
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