2021-2022 Schedule

Fall 2021

Wednesday, October 27, 2-3pm CT: Virtual talk by Elzbieta Sklodowska (Washington University in Saint Louis)

“Etched in Sugar, Soil, Metal, and Blood: The Afterlives of the “Plantation Machine” and Countervisuality in Contemporary Cuban Art”

Abstract: Sugar—both as a commodity and as a metaphor—has been woven into the fabric of Cuban history and identity ever since the indigenous genocide and the ensuing enslavement of African peoples had put the pan-Caribbean “plantation machine” into a relentless forward motion. In this paper, I analyze  the reinscriptions of the sugar plantation in select paintings, photography, installations, and performance by contemporary Cuban artists: Tania Bruguera (b. 1968), Carlos Martiel (b.1989), Douglas Pérez Castro (b. 1972), Reinaldo Echemendía Cid (b. 1987), and Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo (b.1984). I argue that by etching—both literally and metaphorically—the black, gendered experience in sugar, soil, metal, and blood these artists reclaim the “right to look” by creating their own discourses of “countervisuality” (Nicholas Mirzoeff’s terms) in the crucible of enslavement, resistance, and (re)productive plantation machine.

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Click here to download article.

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Thursday, November 17, 4pm CT: Virtual Workshop with C.C. McKee (Bryn Mawr College)

 “At the Threshold of Human and Vegetable: Painting Black Monstrosity in the French Atlantic”

We will be discussing Prof. C.C. McKee’s pre-circulated paper, “At the Threshold of the Human and the Vegetable: Painting Black Monstrosity in the French Atlantic.” Prof. Andrei Pop (Art History, UChicago) will be the discussant. The paper will be available for download a week before the workshop. This event is conducted with support from the French section of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago.

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Click here to see our events from past years and quarters.