Author Antonio Tillis believes people’s racial identification can change radically depending on where they are.
Tillis, a professor at Dartmouth College, delivered the spring 2014 African Diaspora Lecture Thursday night in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center.
His speech was entitled “Corporal Cartography: Mapping the Body in U.S. Afro Latino Literature.” Tillis is currently working on a book of the same title.
His lecture explored the relationship between the map of one’s physical body and the map of one’s physical surroundings in U.S.-Afro-Latino literature. His study focused on modern literature, the earliest of his sources being from the 1990s.
Tillis explores the culture of minorities in the United States in his works.
He began by thanking those who have helped him in his career, including Chancellor Carol Folt, his colleague from Dartmouth.
He tied in a variety of factors, including sexuality, national identity, gender, religion and race identification as they related to the protagonists he cited in his literary studies.
“My favorite part is where I get to get feedback and questions. I want to create a space of intellectual inquiry,” Tillis said.
Several students and professors in attendance were quick to take Tillis up on his offer of discussion.
One person in attendance asked Tillis about how he plans to address issues surrounding the idea of being American in his book.
Tillis replied that the first thing he learned in graduate school was not to take into account the authorship, but to take into account the reader when writing.
Junior Briana Stevens, who attended the lecture, said she came for a friend but was pleasantly surprised by the experience.
“I thought it was really interesting how he put how people feel about their race and nationality into a geographical context,” she said.
Another junior, Omololu Babatunde, said she was thoroughly impressed by the talk.
“I really enjoyed it because it relates a lot to my area of study, geography, and how I’m personally trying to map my own life as an African living in the diaspora,” she said.
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