University of Pittsburgh
March 23, 2003

Pitt to Hold James Snead Memorial Conference

Conference celebrates publication of Racist Traces and Other Writings: European Traditions, African Contagions
Contact:  412-624-4147

The James Snead Memorial Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 28 and from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 29 in Room 324 of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, Fifth Avenue, Oakland, to honor the posthumous publication of Snead's book of essays, Racist Traces and Other Writings: European Traditions, African Contagions (Palgrave MacMillan, March 2003).

The free public conference honors Snead, a brilliant scholar whose writings ranged across film and literature, English and German literature, the European Cannon, and contemporary African American culture. Snead taught at Pitt from 1987 until his death at the age of 35 in March of 1989.

In addition to commemorating Snead's book, the conference marks the deposit of Snead's papers in the University's Hillman Library.

On March 28, there will be a series of lectures on aspects of Snead's work. The conference begins with an introduction by Pitt English Professor Colin MacCabe at 9:30 a.m. The day's lectures include "Traveling with Faulkner" by Hortense Spillers, Cornell University; "Tom Mann" by Stephen Heath, Jesus College, Cambridge; "Loose Ends: James Snead and Penelope" by Maud Ellmann, King's College, Cambridge; and "Light on Dark Subjects: The Fantasy of Black and White in Early American Cinema and the Apparatus" by Tom Gunning, University of Chicago.

Kara Keeling, University of North Carolina, who catalogued Snead's papers, will open the March 29 program. The day features a panel of graduate students from various departments and programs, including English, Film Studies, German, and Cultural Studies. The conference closes with reflections by Cornel West, Princeton University, and Isaac Julien, Harvard University.

The conference is sponsored by the Department of English, the German Department, the Cultural Studies Program, the Faculty of Arts and Science's Faculty Research and Scholarship Program, the Film Studies Program, and the Office of the Provost.

For more information, call Carol Mysliwiec at 412-624-6531, or send an e-mail to; or call Oliver Khan at 412-661-1052, or send an e-mail to