Blood: Populist Eugenics

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Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Thursday, January 20, 20224:00PM - 5:30PMOnline Event, Online Event
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Excerpted from my forthcoming book, Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism 1870-1930, “Blood” traces my great-grandfather, the Populist Congressman from Nebraska, Omer Madison Kem, in his avid adoption of eugenics as he expressed it throughout the extensive archive he left behind. Focusing on blood as a symbolic marker of value (class, race, and strength) and of bodily vulnerability at once, I explore the concept of blood contamination running through segregationist policies, eugenics, and the anti-immigration crusades of the 1910s and ‘20s. As my own family participated in and benefited from these ideologies, I explore this history from a sense of deep implication, tracing the inexhaustible threads of invitation and rejection, belonging and barrier, weaving through my family’s history and all of our lives now.

—Speaker Bio—
Julie Carr is the author of 10 books of poetry and prose, including Real Life: An Installation, Objects from a Borrowed Confession, and a book of essays, Someone Shot my Book. Earlier books include 100 Notes on Violence, soon to be reissued, RAG, and Think Tank. With Jeffrey Robinson she is the co-editor of Active Romanticism (University of Alabama Press, 2015). Her co-translation of Leslie Kaplan’s Excess-The Factory was published by Commune Editions in 2018. Climate, a book of epistolary essays written with the poet Lisa Olstein, is forthcoming from Essay Press.

Carr was a 2011-12 NEA fellow and is a Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder in English, Creative Writing, and the Intermedia Art Writing and Performance PhD. She is currently the Chair of the Women and Gender Studies Department. She has collaborated with dance artists K.J. Holmes and Gesel Mason. With Tim Roberts she is the co-founder of Counterpath Press, Counterpath Gallery, and Counterpath Community Garden in Denver.;;

— Respondent Bio—
Dr. Cristina Rivera Garza is the award-winning author of six novels, three collections of short stories, five collections of poetry and three non-fiction books. Originally written in Spanish, these works have been translated into multiple languages, including English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Korean. The recipient of the Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature (Paris, 2013); as well as the Anna Seghers (Berlin, 2005), she is the only author who has won the International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize twice, in 2001 for her novel Nadie me verá llorar (translated into English by Andrew Hurley as No One Will See Me Cry ) and again in 2009 for her novel La muerte me da. In 2020, she received a MacArthur Fellowship.
The Restless Dead, her most recent book of criticism, comparatively explores the contemporary discussions surrounding conceptualist writing in the United States, post-exoticism in France, as well as communally-based writing throughout the Americas.
She was born in Mexico (Matamoros, Tamaulipas, 1964), and has lived in the United States since 1989.


Mio Otsuka


Julie Carr
Professor, English and Intermedia Art Writing and Performance; Chair, Women and Gender Studies Department, University of Colorado Boulder

Nicholas Sammond
Director, Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto

Cristina Rivera Garza
Distinguished Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Houston

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