Michelle Witen (Department of English Linguistics and Literature — University of Basel) and Cassandra Mark-Thiesen (History Department — University of Basel) cordially invite you to a small drinks reception and Q&A to celebrate the launch of their books, «James Joyce and Absolute Music» (Witen) and «Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital: Mechanized Gold Mining in the Gold Coast Colony, 1879-1909» (Mark-Thiesen).
They will speak briefly about their books and answer any questions you might have about their monographs. They will also happily sign copies.
All are welcome!
Copies of the monographs will be sold at a discount.
(See below for further details on the books.)
• Michelle Witen — James Joyce and Absolute Music (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)
Drawing on draft manuscripts and other archival material, James Joyce and Absolute Music, explores Joyce's deep engagement with musical structure, and his participation in the growing modernist discourse surrounding 19th-century musical forms. Michelle Witen examines Joyce's claim of having structured the “Sirens” episode of his masterpiece, Ulysses, as a fuga per canonem, and his changing musical project from his early works, such as Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Informed by a deep understanding of music theory and history, the book goes on to consider the “pure music” of Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake. Demonstrating the importance of music to Joyce, this ground-breaking study reveals new depths to this enduring body of work
Bio: Michelle Witen is a Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Fellow at the University of Basel’s Department of English Linguistics and Literature. She did her MA and BA at the University of Western Ontario and her doctorate at the University of Oxford. She is presently working on a Habilitation on serialized fiction in 19th-century magazines and newspapers, alongside her work on Modernism and music.
• Cassandra Thiesen-Mark — Mediators, Contract Men, and Colonial Capital: Mechanized Gold Mining in the Gold Coast Colony, 1879-1909 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018).
Recent years have seen renewed interest in the historical study of labor in Africa. Unlike those of the past, these studies are rooted in the recognition of Africa's dynamic, expansive, and productive informal sector. While focusing on one of West Africa's earliest large-scale industries, namely the Wassa gold mines in the southwest Gold Coast, this book is not solely concerned with the traditional working class. Rather, it explores the plurality of labor relations that characterized the mining concessions during the period 1879 to 1909, including the presence of migrants from various parts of West Africa, as well as casual and tributary laborers, both male and female. In capturing the phenomenon of labor mobility as it played out in Wassa, the book presents one of the fullest accounts of the labor agents who regularly brought groups of migrant laborers to the mines. The narrative discusses these agents' means of employment and roles in the informalization and indentureship of labor; in addition, it explores the regional dynamics of the recruitment machinery and confronts issues of coercion and choice.
Bio: Cassandra Mark-Thiesen is a Research Fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Marie-Heim Vögtlin Grant) at the History Department of the University of Basel. She completed her doctorate in African History at Oxford University in 2014. She received her MA and BA from Florida State University. She is currently studying black expertise and rural development in Liberia after the Second World War. Her research focus lies in the social and economic history of West Africa and global labor history.