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The Stuart Hall Library Saturday Reading Group

Saturday Reading Group: Women, Labour and Domesticity Angela Davis and Zadie Smith

24 Mar 2018

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Stuart Hall Library's third reading group explores the revolutionary and literary writings of Angela Davis and Zadie Smith.

  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • 15.00 - 17.00
    Free, booking essential.

Eventbrite - Saturday Reading Group: Housework, Working Class Perspectives and Joy


Join us for a reading group focusing on Angela Davis‘ essay ‘The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: a Working Class Perspective’, from her book Women, Race & Class, and Zadie Smith‘s ‘Joy’ from her new collection of writings Feel Free.

All writings are read together in the group, you don’t need to read them in advance.

Angela Davis discusses black women’s relationship to feminism, domestic labour and employment in the context of politics and global histories of housework:

Black women… had to become strong, for their families and communities needed their strength to survive. Evidence of the accumulated strengths of Black women have forged through work, work and more work can be discovered in the contributions of the many outstanding female leaders who have emerged within the Black community. Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells and Rosa Parks are not exceptional Black women as much as they are epitomes of Black womanhood.

Zadie Smith’s ‘Joy’ explores the semantic, social and experiential differences between pleasure and joy, and their relation to pain and loss:

Occasionally the child, too, is a pleasure, though mostly she is a joy, which means in fact she gives us not much pleasure at all, but rather that strange admixture of terror, pain, and delight that I have come to recognise as joy, and now must find some way to live with daily.

Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, academic, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Zadie Smith is a British writer and novelist, winner of many literary prizes including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her first novel, ‘White Teeth’. Her epic ‘On Beauty’ won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She is currently tenured professor of fiction at New York University.

This reading group is free and open to all.