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Literatour Berks Celebrates Black History Month with LaNitra M. Berger

by The Jewish Federation of Reading

Feb 19, 2021

The Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks in partnership with Exeter Community Library and Sinking Spring Public Library announce the next author in the second season of Literatour Berks, a community-wide celebration with 30 events featuring authors, celebrities, and cultural influencers throughout Berks County. The public is invited to a virtual discussion on South African artist Irma Stern with LaNitra M. Berger on Tuesday, February 23 at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

Berger will discuss her new book “Imra Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color.” South African artist Irma Stern (1894–1966) is one of the nation’s most enigmatic modern figures. Stern held conservative political positions on race even as her subjects openly challenged racism and later the apartheid regime. Using paintings, archival research, and new interviews, this book explores how Stern became South Africa’s most prolific painter of Black, Jewish, and Colored (mixed-race) life while maintaining controversial positions on race.

Through her art, Stern played a crucial role in both the development of modernism in South Africa and in defining modernism as a global movement. Spanning the Boer War to Nazi Germany to apartheid South Africa and into the contemporary #RhodesMustFall movement, Irma Stern’s work documents important twentieth-century cultural and political moments. More than fifty years after her death, Stern’s legacy challenges assumptions about race, gender roles, and religious identity and how they are represented in art history.

LaNitra M. Berger is an award-winning scholar, educator, and social justice advocate working towards making higher education accessible to low-income, first-generation, and minority students. Her scholarly interests are in art and social activism in the African and Jewish diasporas. For over 15 years, her work as an educator focuses on creating and expanding education abroad opportunities for underrepresented students, particularly in international education. As a social justice advocate, she supports student activism through her teaching, advising, public speaking, and research.

Registration for this free virtual event can be found at

Signed copies of the books will be available for purchase through the Literatour Berks official book vendor, Reads & Company of Phoenixville.

Literatour Berks is a community program that will bring 30 authors in exciting programs from September 2020 to June 2021 to Berks County, virtually and in-person. The program is presented by Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks in partnership with Exeter Community Library and Sinking Spring Public Library. A complete list of authors and topics can be found at Additional support in the form of community patrons is acknowledged and appreciated.

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