front cover of Allegories of the Anthropocene
Allegories of the Anthropocene
Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey
Duke University Press, 2019
In Allegories of the Anthropocene Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey traces how indigenous and postcolonial peoples in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands grapple with the enormity of colonialism and anthropogenic climate change through art, poetry, and literature. In these works, authors and artists use allegory as a means to understand the multiscalar complexities of the Anthropocene and to critique the violence of capitalism, militarism, and the postcolonial state. DeLoughrey examines the work of a wide range of artists and writers—including poets Kamau Brathwaite and Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Dominican installation artist Tony Capellán, and authors Keri Hulme and Erna Brodber—whose work addresses Caribbean plantations, irradiated Pacific atolls, global flows of waste, and allegorical representations of the ocean and the island. In examining how island writers and artists address the experience of finding themselves at the forefront of the existential threat posed by climate change, DeLoughrey demonstrates how the Anthropocene and empire are mutually constitutive and establishes the vital importance of  allegorical art and literature in understanding our global environmental crisis.
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Analyzing World Fiction
New Horizons in Narrative Theory
Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama
University of Texas Press, 2011

Why are many readers drawn to stories that texture ethnic experiences and identities other than their own? How do authors such as Salman Rushdie and Maxine Hong Kingston, or filmmakers in Bollywood or Mexico City produce complex fiction that satisfies audiences worldwide? In Analyzing World Fiction, fifteen renowned luminaries use tools of narratology and insights from cognitive science and neurobiology to provide answers to these questions and more.

With essays ranging from James Phelan's "Voice, Politics, and Judgments in Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Hilary Dannenberg's "Narrating Multiculturalism in British Media: Voice and Cultural Identity in Television" to Ellen McCracken's exploration of paratextual strategies in Chicana literature, this expansive collection turns the tide on approaches to postcolonial and multicultural phenomena that tend to compress author and narrator, text and real life. Striving to celebrate the art of fiction, the voices in this anthology explore the "ingredients" that make for powerful, universally intriguing, deeply human story-weaving.

Systematically synthesizing the tools of narrative theory along with findings from the brain sciences to analyze multicultural and postcolonial film, literature, and television, the contributors pioneer new techniques for appreciating all facets of the wonder of storytelling.

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The Archive and the Repertoire
Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas
Diana Taylor
Duke University Press, 2003
In The Archive and the Repertoire preeminent performance studies scholar Diana Taylor provides a new understanding of the vital role of performance in the Americas. From plays to official events to grassroots protests, performance, she argues, must be taken seriously as a means of storing and transmitting knowledge. Taylor reveals how the repertoire of embodied memory—conveyed in gestures, the spoken word, movement, dance, song, and other performances—offers alternative perspectives to those derived from the written archive and is particularly useful to a reconsideration of historical processes of transnational contact. The Archive and the Repertoire invites a remapping of the Americas based on traditions of embodied practice.

Examining various genres of performance including demonstrations by the children of the disappeared in Argentina, the Peruvian theatre group Yuyachkani, and televised astrological readings by Univision personality Walter Mercado, Taylor explores how the archive and the repertoire work together to make political claims, transmit traumatic memory, and forge a new sense of cultural identity. Through her consideration of performances such as Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s show Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit . . . , Taylor illuminates how scenarios of discovery and conquest haunt the Americas, trapping even those who attempt to dismantle them. Meditating on events like those of September 11, 2001 and media representations of them, she examines both the crucial role of performance in contemporary culture and her own role as witness to and participant in hemispheric dramas. The Archive and the Repertoire is a compelling demonstration of the many ways that the study of performance enables a deeper understanding of the past and present, of ourselves and others.

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Art to Come
Histories of Contemporary Art
Terry Smith
Duke University Press, 2019
In Art to Come Terry Smith—who is widely recognized as one of the world's leading historians and theorists of contemporary art—traces the emergence of contemporary art and further develops his concept of contemporaneity. Smith shows that embracing contemporaneity as both a historical concept and a condition of the globalized world allows us to grasp how contemporary art exists in a fluid space of increasing interdependencies, multiple contemporaneous modernities, and persistent inequalities. Throughout these essays, Smith offers systematic proposals for writing contemporary art's histories while assessing how curators, critics, philosophers, artists, and art historians are currently doing so. Among other topics, Smith examines the intersection of architecture with other visual arts, Chinese art since the Cultural Revolution, how philosophers are theorizing concepts associated with the contemporary, Australian Indigenous art, and the current state of art history. Art to Come will be essential reading for artists, art students, curators, gallery workers, historians, critics, and theorists.
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Beginning at the End
Decadence, Modernism, and Postcolonial Poetry
Robert Stilling
Harvard University Press, 2018

During the struggle for decolonization, Frantz Fanon argued that artists who mimicked European aestheticism were “beginning at the end,” skipping the inventive phase of youth for a decadence thought more typical of Europe’s declining empires. Robert Stilling takes up Fanon’s assertion to argue that decadence became a key idea in postcolonial thought, describing both the failures of revolutionary nationalism and the assertion of new cosmopolitan ideas about poetry and art.

In Stilling’s account, anglophone postcolonial artists have reshaped modernist forms associated with the idea of art for art’s sake and often condemned as decadent. By reading decadent works by J. K. Huysmans, Walter Pater, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde alongside Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, Agha Shahid Ali, Derek Mahon, Yinka Shonibare, Wole Soyinka, and Bernardine Evaristo, Stilling shows how postcolonial artists reimagined the politics of aestheticism in the service of anticolonial critique. He also shows how fin de siècle figures such as Wilde questioned the imperial ideologies of their own era.

Like their European counterparts, postcolonial artists have had to negotiate between the imaginative demands of art and the pressure to conform to a revolutionary politics seemingly inseparable from realism. Beginning at the End argues that both groups—European decadents and postcolonial artists—maintained commitments to artifice while fostering oppositional politics. It asks that we recognize what aestheticism has contributed to politically engaged postcolonial literature. At the same time, Stilling breaks down the boundaries around decadent literature, taking it outside of Europe and emphasizing the global reach of its imaginative transgressions.

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Cine-Mobility
Twentieth-Century Transformations in Korea’s Film and Transportation
Han Sang Kim
Harvard University Press, 2022

In 1916, a group of Korean farmers and their children gathered to watch a film depicting the enthronement of the Japanese emperor. For this screening, a unit of the colonial government’s news agency brought a projector and generator by train to their remote rural town. Before the formation of commercial moviegoing culture for colonial audiences in rural Korean towns, many films were sent to such towns and villages as propaganda. The colonial authorities, as well as later South Korean postcolonial state authorities, saw film as the most effective medium for disseminating their political messages. In Cine-Mobility, Han Sang Kim argues that the force of propaganda films in Korea was derived primarily not from their messages but from the new mobility of the viewing position.

From the first film shot in Korea in 1901 through early internet screen cultures in late 1990s South Korea, Cine-Mobility explores the association between cinematic media and transportation mobility, not only in diverse and discrete forms such as railroads, motorways, automobiles, automation, and digital technologies, but also in connection with the newly established rules and restrictions and the new culture of mobility, including changes in gender dynamics, that accompanied it.

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Culture Game
Olu Oguibe
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

An acclaimed artist and cultural provocateur reveals the hidden biases of the contemporary art world

In self-congratulatory tones of tolerance and open-mindedness, the Western gatekeepers of the contemporary art world—gallery owners and museum curators, patrons and promoters—take great pains to demonstrate their inclusive vision of world culture. They highlight the Latin American show mounted “a few years ago” or the African works featured in a recent exhibition of non-Western artists. Non-Western artists soon discover that this veneer of liberalism masks an array of unwritten, unspoken, and unseemly codes and quotas dictating the acquisition and exhibition of their works and the success of their careers. In past decades, cultural institutions and the critical establishment in the West resisted difference; today, they are obsessed with exoticism. Both attitudes reflect firmly entrenched prejudices that prescribe the rules of what Nigerian-born artist, curator, and scholar Olu Oguibe terms the “culture game.”

In the celebrated, controversial essays gathered here, Oguibe exposes the disparities and inconsistencies of the reception and treatment afforded Western and non-Western artists; the obstacles that these contradictions create for non-Western and minority artists, especially those who live and practice in the Western metropolis; and the nature and peculiar concerns of contemporary non-Western art as it deals with the ramifications and residues of the colonial encounter as well as its own historical and cultural past. Ranging from the impact of the West’s appetite for difference on global cultural relations and the existence of a digital Third World to the African redefinition of modernity, Oguibe’s uncompromising and unapologetic criticism provides a uniquely global vision of contemporary art and culture.
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The Decolonized Eye
Filipino American Art and Performance
Sarita Echavez See
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

From the late 1980s to the present, artists of Filipino descent in the United States have produced a challenging and creative movement. In The Decolonized Eye, Sarita Echavez See shows how these artists have engaged with the complex aftermath of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines.

Focusing on artists working in New York and California, See examines the overlapping artistic and aesthetic practices and concerns of filmmaker Angel Shaw, painter Manuel Ocampo, installation artist Paul Pfeiffer, comedian Rex Navarrete, performance artist Nicky Paraiso, and sculptor Reanne Estrada to explain the reasons for their strangely shadowy presence in American culture and scholarship. Offering an interpretation of their creations that accounts for their queer, decolonizing strategies of camp, mimesis, and humor, See reveals the conditions of possibility that constitute this contemporary archive.

By analyzing art, performance, and visual culture, The Decolonized Eye illuminates the unexpected consequences of America's amnesia over its imperial history.

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Embodying Relation
Art Photography in Mali
Allison Moore
Duke University Press, 2020
In Embodying Relation Allison Moore examines the tensions between the local and the global in the art photography movement in Bamako, Mali, which blossomed in the 1990s after Malian photographers Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé became internationally famous and the Bamako Photography Biennale was founded. Moore traces the trajectory of Malian photography from the 1880s—when photography first arrived as an apparatus of French colonialism—to the first African studio practitioners of the 1930s and the establishment in 1994 of the Bamako Biennale, Africa's most important continent-wide photographic exhibition. In her detailed discussion of Bamakois artistic aesthetics and institutions, Moore examines the post-fame careers of Keïta and Sidibé, the biennale's structure, the rise of women photographers, cultural preservation through photography, and how Mali's shift to democracy in the early 1990s enabled Bamako's art scene to flourish. Moore shows how Malian photographers' focus on cultural exchange, affective connections with different publics, and merging of traditional cultural precepts with modern notions of art embody Caribbean philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant's notion of “relation” in ways that spark new artistic forms, practices, and communities.
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Imagined Museums
Art and Modernity in Postcolonial Morocco
Katarzyna Pieprzak
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
Imagined Museums examines the intertwined politics surrounding art and modernization in Morocco from 1912 to the present by considering the structure of the museum not only as a modern institution but also as a national monument to modernity, asking what happens when museum monuments start to crumble.
 
In an analysis of museum history, exhibition policy, the lack of national museum space for modern art, and postmodern exhibit spaces in Morocco, Katarzyna Pieprzak focuses on the role that art plays in the social fabric of a modernizing Morocco. She argues that the decay of colonial and national institutions of culture has invited the rethinking of the museum and generated countermuseums to stage new narratives of art, memory, and modernity. Through these spaces she explores a range of questions: How is modernity imagined locally? How are claims to modernity articulated? How is Moroccan modernity challenged globally?
 
In this first cultural history of modern Moroccan art and its museums, Pieprzak goes beyond the investigation of national institutions to treat the history and evolution of multiple museums—from official state and corporate exhibition spaces to informal, popular, street-level art and performance spaces—as cultural architectures that both enshrine the past and look to the future.
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In Plenty and in Time of Need
Popular Culture and the Remapping of Barbadian Identity
Lia T. Bascomb
Rutgers University Press, 2020
In Plenty and in Time of Need demonstrates how the unique history of Barbados has contributed to complex relations of national, gendered, and sexual identities, and how these identities are represented and interpreted on a global stage. As the most widespread manifestation of social commentary, the book uses music and performance to analyze the competing ideals and realities of the national culture. It details the histories of prominent musical artists, including the prolific Pan-Africanist calypsonian the Mighty Gabby, the world-renowned Merrymen, Soca Queen Alison Hinds, artist/activist Rupee, and international superstar Rihanna. Using these artists, the project analyzes how femininity, masculinity, and sexuality are put in service of Barbadian nationalism. By examining websites, blogs, and digital products of these artists in conversation with Barbadian tourism, the book re-examines the ways in which commodity, sexuality, gender performance, and diasporic consciousness undergird individual careers and national representations.
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Postcolonial Grief
The Afterlives of the Pacific Wars in the Americas
Jinah Kim
Duke University Press, 2019
In Postcolonial Grief Jinah Kim explores the relationship of mourning to transpacific subjectivities, aesthetics, and decolonial politics since World War II. Kim argues that Asian diasporic subjectivity exists in relation to afterlives because the deaths of those killed by U.S. imperialism and militarism in the Pacific remain unresolved and unaddressed. Kim shows how primarily U.S.-based Korean and Japanese diasporic writers, artists, and filmmakers negotiate the necropolitics of Asia and how their creative refusal to heal from imperial violence may generate transformative antiracist and decolonial politics. She contests prevalent interpretations of melancholia by engaging with Frantz Fanon's and Hisaye Yamamoto's decolonial writings; uncovering the noir genre's relationship to the U.S. war in Korea; discussing the emergence of silenced colonial histories during the 1992 Los Angeles riots; and analyzing the 1996 hostage takeover of the Japanese ambassador's home in Peru. Kim highlights how the aesthetic and creative work of the Japanese and Korean diasporas offers new insights into twenty-first-century concerns surrounding the state's erasure of military violence and colonialism and the difficult work of remembering histories of war across the transpacific.
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Shades of Black
Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain
David A. Bailey, Ian Baucom, and Sonia Boyce, eds.
Duke University Press, 2005
In the 1980s—at the height of Thatcherism and in the wake of civil unrest and rioting in a number of British cities—the Black Arts Movement burst onto the British art scene with breathtaking intensity, changing the nature and perception of British culture irreversibly. This richly illustrated volume presents a history of that movement. It brings together in a lively dialogue leading artists, curators, art historians, and critics, many of whom were actively involved in the Black Arts Movement. Combining cultural theory with anecdote and experience, the contributors debate how the work of the black British artists of the 1980s should be viewed historically. They consider the political, cultural, and artistic developments that sparked the movement even as they explore the extent to which such a diverse body of work can be said to constitute a distinct artistic movement—particularly given that “black” in Britain in the 1980s encompassed those of South Asian, North and sub-Saharan African, and Caribbean descent, referring as much to shared experiences of disenfranchisement as to shades of skin.

In thirteen original essays, the contributors examine the movement in relation to artistic practice, public funding, and the transnational art market and consider its legacy for today’s artists and activists. The volume includes a unique catalog of images, an extensive list of suggested readings, and a descriptive timeline situating the movement vis-à-vis relevant artworks and films, exhibitions, cultural criticism, and political events from 1960 to 2000. A dynamic living archive of conversations, texts, and images, Shades of Black will be an essential resource.

Contributors. Stanley Abe, Jawad Al-Nawab, Rasheed Araeen, David A. Bailey, Adelaide Bannerman, Ian Baucom, Dawoud Bey, Sonia Boyce, Allan deSouza, Jean Fisher, Stuart Hall, Lubaina Himid, Naseem Khan, susan pui san lok, Kobena Mercer, Yong Soon Min, Keith Piper, Zineb Sedira, Gilane Tawadros, Leon Wainwright, Judith Wilson

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Shooting for Change
Korean Photography after the War
Jung Joon Lee
Duke University Press, 2024
In Shooting for Change, Jung Joon Lee examines postwar Korean photography across multiple genres and practices, including vernacular, art, documentary, and archival photography. Tracing the history of Korean photography while considering what is disguised or lost by framing the history of photography through nationhood, Lee considers the role of photography in shaping memory of historical events, representing the ideal national family, and motivating social movements. Further, through an investigation of what it means to practice photography under the normalized conditions of militarism, Lee treats the transnational militarism of Korea as a lens through which to probe the officially and culturally sanctioned readings of images when returning to them at different times. Among other themes, Lee draws on photography of militarized sex work, political protest in the military era, war orphans, and mass protests. Ultimately, Lee treats the formative periods in nation building and transnational militarization as both backdrop and cultivator for photographic works.
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Visual Disobedience
Art and Decoloniality in Central America
Kency Cornejo
Duke University Press, 2024
In Visual Disobedience, Kency Cornejo traces the emergence of new artistic strategies for Indigenous, feminist, and anticarceral resistance in the wake of torture, disappearance, killings, and US-funded civil wars in Central America. Cornejo reveals a direct line from US intervention to current forms of racial, economic, and gender injustice in the isthmus, connecting this to the criminalization and incarceration of migrants at the US-Mexico border today. Drawing on interviews with Central American artists and curators, she theorizes a form of “visual disobedience” in which art operates in opposition to nation-states, colonialism, and visual coloniality. She counters historical erasure by examining over eighty artworks and highlighting forty artists across the region. Cornejo also rejects the normalized image of the suffering Central American individual by repositioning artists as creative agents of their own realities. With this a comprehensive exploration of contemporary Central American art, Cornejo highlights the role of visual disobedience as a strategy of decolonial aesthetics to expose and combat coloniality, heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, empire, and other systems of oppression.
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What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet?
Decolonial Art from the Ruins of the Soviet Empire
Madina Tiostanova
Duke University Press, 2018
In What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? Madina Tlostanova traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future—which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity—has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art. She interviews artists, art collectives, and writers such as Estonian artist Liina Siib, Uzbek artist Vyacheslav Akhunov, and Azerbaijani writer Afanassy Mamedov who frame the post-Soviet condition through the experience and expression of community, space, temporality, gender, and negotiating the demands of the state and the market. In foregrounding the unfolding aesthesis and activism in the post-Soviet space, Tlostanova emphasizes the important role that decolonial art plays in providing the foundation upon which to build new modes of thought and a decolonial future.
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