Transition 118, “I Can Be Lightning,” contemplates the power of certain narratives and the impulse to subvert, challenge, or suppress these stories. For the first time since publishing Julius Nyerere in 1961, Transition is thrilled to present a piece by the president of an African nation. His Excellency President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger considers how the lessons in both undersung and more familiar historical records might propel Niger and other African nations toward a unified, thriving future for the continent.
Also in the issue: Bénédicte Boisseron observes that black people and dogs have often been at odds in the fight for freedom and civil rights. Tracing the historical interaction between blacks and dogs, she explores the tremendous impact perceptions of goodness or badness have had from slavery through today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Noted anthropologist J. Lorand Matory disrupts the notion of Sweden as a model state with his examination of unexpected intra-cultural fissures that transcend xenophobic or racial lines. Plus, Evan Moffitt discusses the work of Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode, whose subversive, vibrant, erotically charged images confronted colonialism, explored sexuality, and bravely addressed the hysteria surrounding the nascent AIDS pandemic of the 1980s.
Issue 118 also offers a range of significant new voices including Robin Coste Lewis’ lyric tour de force, Ark, which considers the artic exploration of Matthew Henson and what it means to journey toward the philosophical and actual unknown. Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Nymphadora of Spring City, 1929, an excerpt from her forthcoming novel, describes a progressive school teacher’s encounter with a boundary-crossing ethnographer, and Otosireieze Obi-Young’s rending tale of desire and friendship, A Tenderer Blessing.
Also available through ProjectMUSE.
Join us at the Harvard Book Store on November 20th, 7pm for a special reading from issue 118! Event Details
Bénédicte Boisseron looks at black America’s historical interaction with dogs— from slavery to the current Black Lives Matter protests—and provides a prism through which racial perception, notions of inherent goodness or badness, and the law can be further investigated
Essays by: His Excellency President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger, Bénédicte Boisseron, J. Lorand Matory, Evan Moffitt, Karen D. Taylor.
Fiction by: Otosirieze Obi-Young, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Irehobhude O. Iyioha, TJ Benson.
Poetry by: Abdellatif Laâbi (trans. André Naffis-Sahely), Tommye Blount, Gary Jackson and David Willet, Robin Coste Lewis, Aaron Brown, Chris Morris.
Artwork by: Kenturah Davis, Charles Gaines, Ayana V. Jackson, Rashid Johnson, Henry Taylor, Elio Rodriguez Valdes, David Willet.