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The Encounter: Baalu Girma and Zora Neale Hurston

The Encounter will highlight Hurston’s role as a public intellectual, folklorist and culturologist, and the relevance of her legacy in our enduring racial nightmare. This exhibition will also introduce another celebrated African diaspora novelist and journalist, the Ethiopian writer Baalu Girma, and will imagine the context and conversations that Hurston and Girma could have shared. 

The Encounter will challenge the artifice of borders between academic disciplines in order to explore the shared heritage of African diasporic cultures.  It will also present a wonderful opportunity, itself a kind of encounter, to collaborate with our colleagues at Rollins College and other local institutions.  The exhibition will include contributions from students and faculty, co-curated by Yulia Tikhonova and Eric Gottesman, including work by Julian Chambliss, Eric Gottesman, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, Rachel Simmons, Chris Harris, Valada Parker Flewellyn, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, Dinorah de Jesús Rodríguez, and Reggie Wilson.


Wednesday, January 13 3:00pm

ARTIST TALK:  Chris Harris and Eric Gottesman


Thursday, January 14 6:00pm – 8:00pm


Kick off of the the Big Read and Opening Reception of "The Encounters: Baalu Girma and Zora Neale Hurston".


Friday, January 15 6:00pm – 8:00pm

LECTURE:  "Zora Neale Hurston and Afro-Futurism" by Julian Chambliss

Join us for a guest lecture on Afro-Futurism by Dr. Julian C. Chambliss, Associate Professor of History and Director of the African and African-American Studies Program at Rollins College.

Dr. Chambliss is an award winning teacher and scholar who has lectured and presented his work to domestic and international audiences. His writing is widely published in scholarly venues and his commentary on cultural history can be found in such media outlets as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Christian Science Monitor, Orlando Sentinel and CBS News Radio. His new book on superheroes in U.S. culture, Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men was published in 2013.


Thursday, January 21 3:00pm

ARTIST TALK:  "Gods Always Behave Like the People Who Made Them" by Dinorah de Jesús Rodríguez

Zora Neale Hurston and her migration to the North and return to the Deep South inspired a collaboration between three Florida artists: Filmmaker & Multimedia Artist Dinorah de Jesús Rodriguez, Choreographer & Movement Artist Shaneeka Harrell, and HipHop/Spoken Word Artist Sista Whirlwind.

Their discussion will explore Zora’s relationship to Florida, the swamp, her community, and the significance of Zora’s brand of Southern Comfort.

They will project the video from the installation based off Zora's words... “Gods Always Behave Like the People Who Made Them”. The artists will be present to informally discuss their collaborative process, what the work means to each of them as artists as well as individuals, and to answer audience questions.


Monday, January 25 12:00pm

LECTURE:  "Zora Neale Hurston and Her Narrative Magic" by Jill Jones

Professor of English at Rollins College whose teaching interests include 19th and 20th century American literature, African American literature, women writers and autobiography.  


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All events are free and open to the public.  

Refreshments will be provided by the UCF Art Gallery for all events!