Live via Zoom:
Monday, September 27, 7:30 PM ET
An Evening with Object Lessons
Ayanna Thompson, author of Blackface
Pardis Mahdavi, author of Hyphen
Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. In an era of rising anxiety about what is true and what is not, the Object Lessons series challenges objective reality by examining the things we ignore, take for granted, forget, or overlook. To celebrate this series, Greenlight hosts a night of virtual readings and conversation, featuring Object Lessons authors Ayanna Thompson (Blackface) and Pardis Mahdavi (Hyphen), who each examine identity and race in their Object Lessons. Thompson confronts the ugly tradition of blackface, exploring its history and its legacies in the 21st century, while Mahdavi tells the story of the hyphen from antiquity to the present, following the journey of this humble piece of connective punctuation but also uncovering the politics of the hyphen and the role it plays in creating identities.
Why are there so many examples of public figures, entertainers, and normal, everyday people in blackface? And why aren't there as many examples of people of color in whiteface? This book explains what blackface is, why it occurred, and what its legacies are in the 21st century.
A New Statesman essential non-fiction book of 2021
Featured in Book Riot's 12 best nonfiction books about Black identity and history
Hyphen follows the story of the hyphen from antiquity-Hyphen" is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning "to tie together" -to the present, but also uncovers the politics of the hyphen and the role it plays in creating identities. The journey of this humble piece of connective punctuation reveals the quiet power of an orthographic concept to speak to the travails of hyphenated individuals all over the world. Hyphen is ultimately a compelling story about the powerful ways that language and identity intertwine.