CANCELLED! Thursday seminar: The Black Grotesque, Temporal Exile, and Ways of Witnessing
- Date: –15:00
- Location: Zoom
- Lecturer: Jan-Therese Mendes, Postdoctoral fellow, Centre for Gender Studies, University of Stavanger
- Organiser: Centre for Gender Research
- Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
This talk interrogates the ways the rendering of a grotesque, naked, and conquered Black female figure borrows heavily from the familiar script of colonial domination and the anti-Black racist imagination.
The Pleasures of Depravity: The Black Grotesque, Temporal Exile, and Ways of Witnessing
About the seminar: Conducting a critical reading of a spatial installation shown in a solo exhibition at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2018, this talk interrogates the ways the rendering of a grotesque, naked, and conquered Black female figure borrows heavily from the familiar script of colonial domination and the anti-Black racist imagination. Going beyond the uncensored sexual intrigue the Black figure permits white audiences — who are encouraged to imagine themselves through the fantasies of bestiality that the depravity of the figure allows — this talk argues that this racial conjuring serves a twinned purpose. In short, I contemplate how the exhibition of such antiquated scenes work to despatialize and detemporalize Blackness from a Swedish present and in doing so, eases the chaos incited within a white Swedish imagination ill-at-ease with a contemporary racial landscape. However, in challenge to the directives of the white gaze (and the central place that it is often given in analyses), I turn to emerging conversations in Black feminist sexuality politics and to the works of Black artists in the Nordics to explore Black ways of looking, Black ways of witnessing, and Black ways of pleasure-making that exceed the white voyeur.
About the presenter: Jan-Therese Mendes holds a PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University, Canada (2019). Mendes was the 2020-2021 visiting scholar with the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Amsterdam and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in studies of gender and race with the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger. Mendes’ research examines Northern welfare states’ penal fixation on the Black womb, Black mournability, pedagogies of assimilation and humiliation, and the possibilities of willful strangeness in Black visual art and Black visual culture.
This seminar is held in English.
The Centre for Gender Research's Thursday seminars reflect the breath of gender research and touch upon many different research areas.
OPEN FOR ALL!