Symposium: Race, Representation, Resistance: Cultural Criticism in the Digital Age

Depaul University Symposium Header

Location: Courtelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont St., DePaul University, Chicago 
Date/Time: March 7th, 4-9pm.


This free public event will address the provocative, explorative and suggestive work of cultural critics in the digital age. It is particularly interested in how cultural critics address an age that is repeatedly depicted as post-soul, post-race and post-black. 


The symposium will feature three exceptionally talented, perceptive, and incisive writers who have consistently produced intellectual work that deepens our interest in arts and culture; reveals new meanings and perspectives; expands our sense of culture; confronts our assumptions about value and taste; and sharpens our ability to respond to cultural texts. 


Lewis Gordon teaches in the Department of Philosophy and the Institute for African American Studies, with affiliation in Judaic Studies, at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. He previously taught at Temple University (where he was a Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy and founded and directed the Center for AfroJewish Studies and the Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought), Brown University and Purdue University. He will deliver a talk relating to his recent work on the market colonization of the virtual public sphere.

Armond White is the editor of City Arts, for which he also writes articles and reviews. He was previously the lead film critic for the alternative weekly New York Press (1997–2011) and the arts editor and critic for The City Sun (1984–1996). His presentation is entitled, ‘Monster: How Celebrity Effects Black Identity,’ and will use key texts (literary, cinematic, musical) from the early 1900s to the present that detail the evolution of Black Power as both an aesthetic and political construct. 

Francesca Royster is a Professor of English at DePaul University who has written widely about Shakespeare, Race and Gender, Black Feminisms, Cultural Studies and Popular Culture, and Literature and Film. Her talk will trace a rebellious spirit in post-civil rights black music by addressing a range of offbeat, eccentric, queer, or slippery performances by leading musicians influenced by the cultural changes brought about by the civil rights, black nationalist, feminist, and LGBTQ movements.

Refreshments will be served at the event. 

Please contact Daniel McNeil (dmcneil2@depaul.edu) to RSVP

Frederick Douglass in Britain: Online Teaching Resource

Frederick Douglass, c1847-52

Many thanks to postgraduate researcher Hannah-Rose Murray (MA Public History at Royal Holloway) for passing on this information about her research focused on Frederick Douglass’ time in Britain and the associated teaching resource that she has produced:

How many people in Britain have heard of Frederick Douglass? He is probably one of the most famous African Americans in the United States, but his sojourn in Britain has been largely forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic.

Born a slave in Maryland, he escaped and travelled to Britain between 1845-7, urging the British people to campaign against American slavery. Douglass created a sensation, and his experiences in this country deserve to be recognised. He was able to sharpen his powerful skills as an orator, and he established long-term friendships with British abolitionists, who supported him throughout his career as a social activist.

I first became aware of Douglass at University (2008). I read a speech by him, titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” This was a merciless attack on America’s concept of ‘liberty’, and I’ve been hooked ever since! For a Masters project, I created several teaching resources focusing on Douglass’s trip to Britain, and created a website – https://sites.google.com/site/frederickdouglassinbritain/

While I was researching Douglass, it became clear there was something missing – an analysis of the impact Douglass had on Britain. We can test this by reading contemporary newspapers, as they offer opinions on American slavery in general and on Douglass himself. Through this, we can understand how and why Douglass was so successful in Britain, particularly on a grassroots level. There are some great debates within the newspapers about slavery, and how far Britain should interfere, so it’s a great study of relations between the UK and the United States too.

This period of history is fascinating, and some of the controversies Douglass became involved in show that the issue of slavery was not confined to the American shore. For all of these reasons, I’m keen to spread the word about Frederick Douglass and his important trip here, to a British and an American audience!

A blue plaque to Frederick Douglass is currently being organised, with the tribute ceremony on 20February at Whitehead’s Grove, South Kensington. Currently, more donations are needed, so if you would like to make a contribution or find out more about the plaque, follow this link – http://www.nubianjak.com/default.aspx

Derek Attridge on William Kentridge at the Bluecoat

Kentridge in Context: an evening with Derek Attridge.

Professor Attridge discusses Kentridge’s work in relation to

contemporary South African literature

on

Thursday 24 January 6pm

image001

(Image: William Kentridge, Eight Figures, 2010. Courtesy Artists Proof Studio, (c) the artist 2012.)

A Universal Archive – William Kentridge as Printmaker

Exhibition continues until Sunday 3 February, 2013.  Open 10am-6pm daily. Free.

One of South Africa’s greatest contemporary artists, William Kentridge is acclaimed worldwide for his films, drawings, theatre and opera productions.  He is also an innovative and prolific printmaker who studied etching at the Johannesburg Art Foundation.

Over the past 25 years Kentridge has produced more than 300 etchings, engravings, aquatints, silkscreens, linocuts and lithographs, experimenting with formats and combining techniques.  Often the social and political themes explored in his prints end up in a piece of theatre or animated film.  This exhibition includes over 100 prints in all media from 1988 to the present, with a focus on experimental and serial works, ranging in scale from intimate etchings to linocuts measuring 2.5 metres high.

Saturday 19 January 2pm

Exhibition tour

Alan Jones, an artist based at the Bluecoat, and our Aritistic Director, Bryan Biggs,discuss Kentridge’s work in the gallery.  Free.

Thursday 24 January 6pm

Kentridge in Context: an evening with Derek Attridge

Derek Attridge discusses Kentridge’s work in relation to contemporary South African literature.  Free, ticket required.

Sunday 27 January 2pm

Gallery Talk with Kate McCrickard

Leading Kentridge expert Kate McCrickard offers insights into his work. Free.

Saturday 2 February 2-5pm

Open printmaking studios

William Kentridge uses a wide range of printmaking techniques.  Visit our two print studios for demonstrations of these processes.  Free.


1804 & Its Afterlives: International Conference

We are pleased to present below the programme for the upcoming conference 1804 & Its Afterlives to be held at Nottingham Contemporary on the 7-8 December 2012. This event takes place in conjunction with Nottingham Contemporary’s current exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou and will include as speakers, specialists across many disciplines in the field of Haitian and Caribbean Studies.

The event is free, to book a place via the Nottingham Contemporary site click here.

Image

Hector Hyppolite, Henry Christophe, Collection Musée Nader, Port-au-Prince

1804 & Its Afterlives

The Space, Nottingham Contemporary

Friday 7th December

—————————————————————————————————–

10.30   Arrivals & Registration (Refreshments served in The Space Foyer )

Session One 11h-13h

11.00   Introduction

11.30   Keynote Lecture, Colin Dayan: ‘The gods in the trunk (or writing in a belittered world)’:

I offer a context for refiguring our understanding of the supernatural, a recognition of attentiveness that asks:  What could we feel if we could feel what we experience sufficiently? What I once called Marie Vieux Chauvet’s ‘literary fieldwork’ becomes a way to think anew about the making of fiction and the meaning of ritual. With vodou practice-and the threats now against its very existence-as my prompt, I go beyond the borders of academic decorum to substantially political encounters. In asking what remains alive, vivid, and unsettling outside our conventions and characterizations, I question the meaning of ‘justice’ and the reach of ‘cruelty,’ as well as the uses of ‘reason.’  By reshuffling our conceptual schemes, my objective is to give the claims of spirit the color and shape of matter.  Finally, I want to breach the gap between body and mind, dead and living, human and non-human. How else can we work and think through this time of extinctions? 

12.30   Conversation & Q&A with Colin Dayan
Chaired by Leah Gordon & Alex Farquharson (Curators, Kafou, Haiti Art & Vodou)

 

Session Two 14h-16.30h

14.00   Charles Forsdick, Introduction 

14.30   Nick Nesbitt:  Legacies of 1804: Anti-slavery, Decolonization and the Critique of Violence

15.00   Dick Geary: The Contradictory Legacy of Haiti for Slave Revolt in Brazil

15.30   Conversation with Dick Geary & Nick Nesbitt, Chaired by Charles Forsdick

16.00   Q&A

16.30   Exhibition visit Kafou, Haiti Art & Vodou  – with Alex Farquharson & Leah Gordon

17.30   Drinks for speakers and delegates served in The Space – launch of Kafou catalogue.

 

Saturday 8th December

—————————————————————————————————–

10.30   Arrivals & Registration (Refreshments served in The Space Foyer )

Session Three 10.45h-13.30h

10.45   Introduction by Philip Kaisary

11.00   Michael Largey:
1804 and Musical Memory: Occide Jeanty and Recombinant Mythology in Haiti

11.30   Martin Munro:
The Revolution’s Ghosts: Dessalines, the Chimères, and Apocalyptic Creolization

12.00   Barbara Browning:
Catching the Rhythm: Infectious Politicization in the Figuring of Haitian Dance Since the Revolution

12.30   Conversation with Barbara Browning, Martin Munro & Michael Largey & Q&A
Chaired by Philip Kaisary

 

Session Four 14.30-17h

14.30   Introduction

14.45   Millery Polyne:
The Commercial and Ideological Uses of Haiti-from Post U.S. Occupation to Post-Earthquake

15.15   Matthew J Smith:
Haitian Revolutions: Politics, Conflicts, and the Shadow of 1804

15.45   Conversation with Millery Polyne and Matthew J Smith, Chaired by Nick Nesbitt

16.15   Q&A

17.00   Close

 

Speakers Biographies

Colin Dayan is Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, and expert in literary, legal and religious studies of the Americas, and author of A Rainbow for the Christian West: Rene Depestre‘s Poetry; Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe’s Fiction(1987); Haiti, History, and the Gods and, most recently, The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons. In Haiti, History, and the Gods Dayan investigated how Haiti is created and recreated in fiction and fact, text and ritual, discourse and practice. Uncovering a silenced, submerged past, she argued provocatively for the consideration of both Vodou rituals and narrative fiction as repositories of history.

Leah Gordon (Chair) is an artist and curator. She has produced a body of work on the representational boundaries between art, religion, anthropology, post-colonialism and folk history and her film and photographic work has been exhibited internationally. She has previously served as adjunct curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, was on the curatorial team for the recent ‘In Extremis’ exhibition at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, and is curator of ‘Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou’at Nottingham Contemporary.

Nick Nesbitt is Professor of French & Italian, Princeton University;his publications include Voicing Memory: History and Subjectivity in French Caribbean Literature and Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment – which explores the Haitian Revolution as a fundamental event of the Age of Revolution and Enlightenment, in relation to key thinkers in contemporary political philosophy. He is editor of Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution and co-editor with Brian Hulse of Sounding the Virtual: Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of Music.

Dick Geary is the former Director of Institute for the Study of Slavery at University of Nottingham; he published extensively on European labour history before researching slave labour and unpaid work in Brazil and Western Europe, emphasising the role of ideology, religion, and ritual. Geary´s main field of research is the European labour movement and the intellectual history of Marxism. More recently he has been developing a research on the history of slavery. His methods include both social history and comparative studies.

Charles Forsdick (Chair) is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses principally on exoticism, travel literature, postcolonial literature in French, the francophone dimensions of postcolonial theory, the contemporary French novel and representations of the Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture.

Michael Largey is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Area Chair of Musicology at Michigan State University College of Music. He is a specialist in Caribbean music, specifically Haitian classical and religious music. He is author of Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism in which he examined how elements of Vodou music were used by elite composers to express understandings of nasyon (nation) from the 1890s through to the US military occupation of 1915-1934.

Martin Munro is Director Winthrop-King Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University. He previously worked in Scotland, Ireland, and Trinidad. His recent publications include: American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South; Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas; Edwidge Danticat: A Reader’s Guide; and Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture, and the Earthquake of 2010. He is currently working on the theme of the apocalypse in the Caribbean.

Barbara Browning is Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Her major interests lie in Brazil and the African diaspora; dance ethnography; race, gender and postcoloniality; fiction and performance. In Infectious Rhythm Browning analysed how the African cultural diaspora has continued to be represented in terms of metaphors of disease and contagion. She continues to merge practical engagement of body practices with her scholarly work, which broadly addresses performance and politics in the African diaspora.

Philip Kaisary (Chair) is Assistant Professor of Law at University of Warwick, where he received his Ph.D in English and Comparative Literary Studies.  His research interests are interdisciplinary and range across the fields of legal and literary studies, human rights, postcolonial studies, and black Atlantic studies with particular focus on disaster law and the cultural impact of disasters; the Haitian Revolution; and the legal and cultural history of slavery and anti-slavery. He is currently revising his dissertation for publication. 

Matthew J. Smith is Lecturer in History at University of the West Indies; his main area of research is in Haitian politics and society after the U.S. occupation (1915-1934) and Haitian regional migration in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He is author of Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957, which argues that the period from 1934 to the rise of Dictator Francois Duvalier, was modern Haiti’s greatest moment of political promise.

Millery Polyné is Assistant Professor of American Studies, Gallatin School at New York University. His research interests highlight the history of African American and Afro-Caribbean cultural, political, and economic initiatives in the 19th and 20th centuries; dance, jazz, sports and urban memory. He is the author of From Douglass to Duvalier: U.S. African Americans, Haiti and Pan Americanism 1870-1964.

Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou

Opening  20 October 2012, Nottingham Contemporary will be presenting an insightful vision into a stream of Haitian art practices predominantly inspired by Vodou from the 1940s to the present through the exhibition Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou.

Gerard Valcin, Simbis Voyageurs (Collection GALERIE D’ART NADER)

” Bringing together some 200 works by 40 artists from the 1940s to today, and drawing from leading collections from Haiti, North America and Europe, Kafou will be one of the largest exhibitions of Haiti’s celebrated art ever held, and is unusual in presenting it in the context of a programme dedicated to international contemporary art. With few exceptions, the artists in the exhibition came from impoverished urban and rural backgrounds, and had minimal contact with the mainstream modern and contemporary art worlds. The extraordinary beauty and imaginative power of their work reflects the richness of Haitian culture and history while also contrasting with Haiti’s experience of, and reputation for, extreme poverty, political oppression and natural disaster. Kafou is curated by Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, and Leah Gordon, artist and curator of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince.”

“Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou will trace the history of how Vodou has been represented through successive generations of Haitian art in all four of Nottingham Contemporary’s galleries, including the work of artists who were also Vodou priests (Houngans): Hector Hyppolite, André Pierre and Lafortune Félix for example. The exhibition begins with what has been dubbed the ‘Haitian Renaissance’, exemplified by the artists that gathered around the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince founded in 1944, which brought Haitian art to the attention of international collectors and important cultural figures. Kafou represents key figures from this ‘first’ generation, including Hyppolite, Rigaud Benoit, Wilson Bigaud, Castera Bazille, Préfète Duffaut (who lived in Jacmel in the south), and Philomé Obin and Seneque Obin, founders of the distinctive Cap Haitian school in the north of Haiti. Hyppolite, Haiti’s most celebrated artist, is represented by a large number of major works from the 1940s. They are followed by distinctive artists who followed in their wake, such as André Pierre, Celestin Faustin, Gerard Valcin, Alexandre Grégoire and Lafortune Félix, while a third room brings together examples of artists associated with the Saint Soleil movement of the 70s, 80s and 90s, whose representations of the lwa are less specific, more ethereal, and sometimes verging on abstraction. A fourth section presents several recent developments, including the Atis Rezistans group, who make arresting supernatural assemblages from recycled materials (car parts, clothing, human skulls and bones) and carved wood from their downtown neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince; the baroque and visionary depictions of Vodou spirits in sequins on flags by Myrlande Constant and Edouard Duval-Carrié’s and Frantz Zephirin’s potent fusions of Vodou and Haitian political history.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue whose texts will reevaluate the significance of seventy years of Haitian art from various cultural and historical vantage points. It features new essays by Colin Dayan (author of the seminal ‘Haiti, History and the Gods’), Alex Farquharson and a ‘trialogue’ by Leah Gordon, Wendy Asquith and Katherine Smith. A major international conference at Nottingham Contemporary will complement the exhibition by considering the many ‘Afterlives’ of the 1804 Revolution in Haiti and the Atlantic World through a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.”

To find out more about this exciting upcoming exhibition and its associated events on the Nottingham Contemporary’s webpages click here.

Reblogged from African American Studies at Beinecke Library: http://beineckejwj.library.yale.edu/2012/08/02/cjwalker/

African American Studies at Beinecke Library

Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919) was a leading African-American businesswoman in the 1910s, and a pioneer in the beauty industry. Her products not only promised “good hair” and a “smooth, clear complexion” but also success for black women, a narrative that reflected Walker’s own ambition and remarkable rise as the first free-born American citizen in a family of slaves. In addition to running a business so successful that she was America’s wealthiest African-American women at the time of her death, Walker founded and supported beauty colleges, which offered financial independence to African-American “hair culturists.” Her activities encompassed not only the production and marketing of beauty products, but also philanthropic support of African-American civil rights causes.

The James Weldon Johnson Collection at the Beinecke Library includes printed material, ephemera, photographs, and realia relating to Madam C.J. Walker and the African-American beauty industry of the early 20th century. (LC)

Descriptive records…

View original post 399 more words

Book Review: Human Zoos

A new review by postgraduate research student Emily Trafford of the University of Liverpool’s School of Histories, Languages and Cultures has been added to the research section of the Black Atlantic Resource, which looks at the 2008 publication Human Zoos.

P. Blanchard, N. Bancel, G. Boёtsch, É. Deroo, S. Lemaire, C. Forsdick (eds), Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Colonial Empires, 2008 (Liverpool University Press: Liverpool)

This recent collection of essays on the display of human otherness moves beyond the wave of freak show literature of the 1980s and ‘90s, and seeks to provide a more comprehensive overview of this peculiar exhibitionary practice. The display of the exotic Other for entertainment, education, and supposedly the advancement of scientific knowledge, occurred in numerous guises throughout imperial nations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The strength of the volume lies in its scope – in terms of time and place, the historical characters and stories that emerge, and the disciplinary approaches that its contributors utilise – all of which make Human Zoos a valuable resource …read more

If you are interested in contributing a book review to the Black Atlantic Resource please contact us.