Expressive Cultures of the Black Atlantic: Vision and Time
In this course we're going to examine a variety of Black Atlantic visual cultures, both in Africa and in the Diaspora, with a focus on how historical memory and the experience of the passage of time are articulated in objects and performances. What, for example, are the poetics of trying to reclaim historical "African" origins when such a reconstruction is by definition impossible? The idea of allegory will run strongly through the course: the mourning of lost "ancient" wholeness marked also by the enduring hope that fragments of the past can be reassembled to redeem the present. This is not to say, of course, that the people whose lives and works we will discuss here are abjectly "living in the past" — though this very misconception has been rehearsed often in museum exhibitions devoted to the objectifying study of "Other" cultures. Here, we will concentrate on the ways in which the realities of a shifting present are addressed throughout the African Diaspora: in struggle, in celebration, and always in movement.
HISTART categories for concentration distribution: B. Sub-Saharan Africa, E. Latin America and the Caribbean, 4. Modern and Contemporary