Future Ancestors, Ancestral Futures: The Aesthetic Enactment of Feminist Imaginaries
Nov
11
11:00 AM11:00

Future Ancestors, Ancestral Futures: The Aesthetic Enactment of Feminist Imaginaries

PANELISTS:
Olivia Michiko Gagnon, NYU
Patricia Nguyen, Northwestern
Lilian Mengesha, Tufts

CHAIR:
Mimi Thi Nguyen, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne
Linked here

This panel turns to performances and artistic productions that interrogate and propose feminist visions of and for the future. Building upon and indebted to scholarship on feminist and queer temporalities and historiographies, as well as performance studies-inflected work on history, embodiment, and the archive, this panel insists that feminist future imaginaries are deeply implicated in the question of the longue durée (Braudel [1958] 1980) and deep time (Lane 2010). The panel therefore traces forms of transmission as extended practices of making time for ongoing processes of generational passing on and along, ones that knit together webs of transhistorical sociality, or what Leanne Betasomasake Simpson (2017) might call “[ecologies] of intimacy” (8). The papers on this panel engage artworks––and in some cases personal histories and art-making practices––that ask us to conceive of the past not only as entangled with the present, but as vital material for the imagining and enactment of other, more livable feminist futures. Pivoting away from temporalities of revolution and emergency, each paper illuminates practices of passing on and along that propose other ways of being in, with, and across time(s) that are stretched out, expanded, or distended. Together, the papers hail a vision of the world in which to remember is also to dream, longing is a double movement, and futures are constellated out of the affective and material traces of history.

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Catastrophes of the Human and Architectures of Emergence
Nov
8
4:00 PM16:00

Catastrophes of the Human and Architectures of Emergence

Roundtable at the American Studies Association Conference

CHAIR: Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

PANELISTS:

Lilian Mengesha, Tufts University
Kemi Adeyemi, University of Washington–Seattle Campus
Joseph M. Pierce, Stony Brook University
Chandan Reddy, University of Washington–Seattle Campus
Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

This panel takes up the topic of the disastrous spatial and geographic/“geologic” violence of the Human and western man from different critical vantage points. We hope to showcase work on various forms of racialized performances and architectures as engagements with missing histories, spaces, and catastrophes that disrupt the visual and haptic orders of western spatial formation. Architectures of emergence, on this panel, name the material structural forms of new ways of perceiving change, transformation, domination, and resistance. While some architectures of emergence come in the form of angles on racialization, others are embedded in the land itself as a repulsion of human influence (oil spills, for example) and still more reside in the unbuilding of the world around us. Refusing to reinvest in and extend the violence of the human by using the logic that centers the human in all endeavors, this panel looks for a deep language of survival within indigenous ontologies, a language of resistance within Black apathy, a language of agonistic friendship within the informal economy, and a queer language of refusal within anarchitectual unmakings of the world. Not invested in the temporalities of optimism and pessimism but bored by negative and positive teleologies and theologies, this roundtable will attend to the time and event of emergence hoping to spy the future at that moment before it tips into more of the same.

The panel will take up a series of questions, topics, and themes having to do with: anarchitecture, apathy, the scale of the small, land-based kinship, nomos and the law, personhood beyond neoliberal governance, affect, languages of adoption rather than kinship, traces and residues, parts rather than wholes, violence and freedom.

 

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Circuits of Belonging: Rerouting Blackness in the Imaginary at the College Art Association
Feb
23
3:00 PM15:00

Circuits of Belonging: Rerouting Blackness in the Imaginary at the College Art Association

In collaboration with the wonderful M. Liz Andrews and Noel Anderson, I am presenting a paper on the work of Julie Mehretu. Come to our panel at CAA in LA! Here is a brief description of my talk, entitled BLACK CITIES, MIGRANT MAPS: 

What are the aesthetic mappings of diasporic subjectivities? How does the diasporic subject, born in one place and moving to and from others, challenge cartographic ways of knowing space and geographic coordinates? The oversized paintings and drawings of Ethiopia-born and Detroit raised artist Julie Mehretu catalyzes these questions around spatial belonging, particularly within the multi-faceted African diaspora. Through a mediation on her series Black City (2007) and Landscape Allegories (2003-04), this paper argues for Mehretu’s works as abstracted cartographies of bodily memory, plotted through fragments of cities, gestures, and bodies visually layered onto one another. Her paintings refuse singular direction in service to deconstructing routedness and rootedness altogether. Black City and Landscape Allegories collapses the time, space, and environments of migratory patterns, and in doing so, they revise art historical understandings of what and how landscape images must represent and be interpreted. Landscape becomes a character wherein it consumes how bodies negotiate, identify and transform space, which ultimately involves relations of power. With a particular attention to how the racialized migrant moves across cityspaces, I read Mehretu’s works through the mobile frame of refugees, immigrants and migrants who have been forced to rethink belonging altogether. Importantly, this paper links form and content: the scale and method through which Mehretu creates Black City and Landscape Allegories, asks the body to spread, stretch, and reach beyond human height through physical forms of large canvases, and at the same time, the chaotic content illustrates the boundless realm of migrant cartography.

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Oct
5
to Oct 8

Movements at the End of the World: Inhumanist Kinship and Care as Minoritarian Performance

I am co-convening a working group with James McMaster and Patricia Gomes from NYU's Performance Studies: 

What forms of care and kinship are required for the survival and sustainability of inhuman life as we approach irrecoverable ecological destruction? To speak of inhuman life is not only to acknowledge the vitality of things, plants, and animals from within the Anthropocene, but also to recognize the minoritarian subjects for whom the category of the Human has historically been inhospitable. For these under-siege constituencies—people of color, queer and trans individuals, women, indigenous peoples, the disabled—survival takes hold within alternative structures of kinship that organize and are organized by the collective performance of care that reproduces life itself. Within several indigenous ontologies, the human is one minor node in a greater network of kin-making. When and how does performance, among other creative practices, offer a way of being beyond our species? What modalities of movement are required to shift our stance, to re-evaluate the terms of engagement to which we have been disciplined? In accordance with “Unsettling the Americas,” this workshop seeks to map the intimate geographies of kinship and care that sustain inhumanity alongside artists, scholars, and activists tired with the worn-out category of the Human. Ours is a mission to unsettle a version of the enlightened Euro-centric human that Caribbean philosopher Sylvia Wynter has simply called “Man.” We welcome academics, artists, and activists to join us in our collective study of resistance movements, care-full interdependencies, and more-than-human life-worlds.

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