Image of Prof. Kaysha Corinealdi

Newhouse Fellows Series: Kaysha Corinealdi

Between History and Speculation: (Un)Familiar Biographies of the Black Diaspora
Feb 28, 4:30–6 PM
Newhouse Lounge
Free and open to the public

Outside of Panama, few have likely heard of Thelma King (1921-1993). King was one of two women elected to Panama’s national assembly in 1960, a radio broadcaster, an attorney, and the subject of intense investigations by the CIA. Her story, and that of her family and the communities she called home, reveal a plethora of both familiar and deeply underexamined stories of migration, language politics, nativism, U.S. empire, and the ways women have navigated male-dominated institutional spaces. Drawing on letters, newspaper accounts, photographs, interviews, and government reports, this presentation rather than offer a standard biography on King, uses her life to ask questions about how we write about Black life and race and racism outside of the United States, how we assess the limits of the known and unknowable, and the types of questions that we as researchers, writers, and story tellers must ask of ourselves when we decide whose life histories merit greater examination and popularization. 

Dr. Kaysha Cordinealdi Kaysha Corinealdi is an Associate Professor of History at Emerson College. She specializes in twentieth century histories of empire, migration, feminism, and Afro-diasporic activism in the Americas. Her book, Panama in Black: Afro-Caribbean World Making in the Twentieth Century (Duke University Press, 2022), centers the activism of Afro-Caribbean migrants and their descendants as they navigated practices and policies of anti-Blackness, xenophobia, denationalization, and white supremacy in Panama and the United States. To learn more about Corinealdi’s overall scholarship, including her public-facing work, please visit her website.

During her time as a Newhouse Fellow, Corinealdi will work on a second book project tentatively titled, Radical Women on the Panamanian Isthmus, which examines the political activism and careers of Afro-descendant women during a century marked by suffrage campaigns, anti-war and anti-imperialist organizing, the Cold War, and the rise of a thirty-year dictatorship. The project incorporates governmental and private archives, oral interviews, and newspaper findings from Cuba, Mexico, Panama, and the United States, with the goal of highlighting the communal and internationalist nature of the political work of a small yet vibrant cross-generational group of Black women.

This event will be livestreamed over Zoom. Click here to register for Zoom attendance.
This event is free and open to the public. No prior registration is required for in-person attendance. 

For more information, please contact:

Image Credit:

Omar A. A. Reid