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Annual Lecture: Prof Daniel Williams; “Citizenship, ‘Race’ and Class: Hannah Arendt and Raymond Williams in the age of Brexit”
Raymond Williams is known as a theorist of culture, with his work drawing on his settled upbringing in Monmouthshire. Hannah Arendt escaped Nazi Germany, to France and on to New York where she became known as a key thinker on totalitarianism, statelessness and the fate of refugees. Williams and Arendt seem an unlikely pairing. But from his extended review of Arendt’s Between Past and Future in 1961, the Welshman responded to the work of his German-Jewish contemporary. This lecture will explore the connections between them, using the one as a corrective in exploring some of the blindnesses and biases in the work of the other. It will be argued that their works continue to inform contemporary debates regarding citizenship, ‘race’ and nation-statehood as we face the looming possibility of Brexit.
Born in Aberystwyth, Daniel G. Williams is Professor of English Literature and Director of the Richard Burton Centre for the Study of Wales at Swansea University. He is the author of Ethnicity and Cultural Authority: From Arnold to Du Bois (2006), and Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales (2012) and Wales Unchained: Literature, Politics and Identity in the American Century (2015).