The Johns Hopkins University Museums invites its Director’s Circle members to a special talk and reception with University of Iowa Assistant Professor of English & African American Studies, Tara A. Bynum, Ph.D. Dr. Bynum, who received her Ph.D. from JHU in 2008, will discuss her recent publication Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America (2023, University of Illinois Press + New Black Studies Series). Presentation followed by light hors d’oeuvres with the author.


Tara A. Bynum, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English & African American Studies and a scholar of early African American literary histories before 1800. She received her Ph.D. in English from the Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Political Science from Barnard College.

Her current monograph, Reading Pleasures (University of Illinois Press’ New Black Studies, fall 2022), examines the ways in which eighteenth-century enslaved and/or free men and women feel good or experience pleasure in spite of the privations of slavery, “unfreedom,” or white supremacy. It is a pleasure that isn’t beholden to social expectations or systemic oppression, but instead is experienced because of an individual’s commitment to religious faith, friendship, or community building. This work is part of a larger, ongoing project that thinks more deeply about how black communities in the early republic made and shaped the very meaning of nation-building in the greater New England area and beyond. Related essays have appeared or are forthcoming in: Early American Literature, Common-Place, Legacy, J19, Criticism, American Periodicals, and African American Literature in Transition, Vol. 1, 1750-1800.


Becoming a member of the Johns Hopkins University Museums is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on all the fascinating history and exciting activities at Homewood and Evergreen. Memberships start at $50/year for individuals and $100/year for households and come with many benefits, including free admission to both museums, discounts in the museums gift shops, and free or discounted fees to many programs and events.

Becoming a member at the Fellow ($250+/year), Patron ($500+/year), or Benefactor ($1,000+/year) level unlocks even more benefits, such as invitations to biannual Director’s Circle events like this one. Membership dues provide essential support for educational programs, exhibitions, preservation, and collections conservation at both museums. To become a member, or upgrade your membership, please CLICK HERE.

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Add to Calendar 20230430 America/New_York JHU Museums’ Spring Director’s Circle Event