HISTART 497-002

Upper-Level Seminar:
Keepers of the Fire: Media Archaeology for Colonized Lands

3 Credit Seminar

Meets with AMCULT 405-004 and NATIVEAM 405-001

The static that flickers across the screen, the hum of electronic noise beneath an audio track – these ghosts in our machines reveal the material undercurrent of media, the flurry of energy and conductivity that facilitate technological communication. This course will introduce students to a diverse group of Indigenous artists working in the Americas and elsewhere from 1960 to the present whose practices provide insight into the machine agencies that shape our shared world. Each class will focus on the history, theory and practice of a different media technology, including photography, film, sound art, video and television art, and other telecommunications platforms. In addition to studying key episodes where the history of these media intersected with colonial projects or Indigenous resistance, we will analyze core theoretical positions on media studies from the fields of Indigenous futurisms, cybernetics and the materialist discipline known as media archaeology. Along the way, we will consider such fundamental questions as: How and why do we differentiate tool from technology, technology from medium? What are the racialized, gendered or primitivizing implications of these distinctions? How has technologically-aided representation been weaponized against Indigenous sovereignty, and how might media become sympathetic allies? How have media's material qualities allowed humans to expand our field of relations, and how do machines form relations through us?

All students are welcome, particularly those interested in media studies, Indigenous studies, or modern and contemporary art history.

All required materials will be uploaded to Canvas.

Image credit: Jessie Kleemann, Spirit Hosts Join the Elements (1993), Video (still).

Estimated Cost of Materials: $0-$50

HISTART Distribution Requirements: Modern and Contemporary and Europe and the U.S.