Scholars of anti-racist social movements throughout the Americas have long analyzed the complex cultural politics that have emerged as a critical response to normalized patterns of social exclusion. Nation-states and non-state entities produce, utilize, and validate means of representation that justify and advance disposability. And it is against these official portrayals that anti-racist social movements offer a critique and an array of practices. From the emergence of the blues and hip hop culture to the use of visual art and film as spaces of critique, it is clear that social movements produce their own insurgent aesthetics that articulate how the experience of disposability is lived at the level of the body as well as how disposable communities speak back to these processes by mobilizing shared social memory, cultural traditions, and new art and media technologies to craft creative counter-narratives to the logic of disposability. Thus, the seminar takes seriously the practice of cultural production in the realms of popular music, visual art, performance art, and film as both critical modes of knowledge production and activist engagement. This track considers the following questions: How do art and culture function as modalities for creating new terrains of political possibility that trouble the over-determined logic of disposability? Or put differently, can disposability be alchemized into possibilities for life and the production of other kinds of political futures? Is it possible to engage the insurgent aesthetic practices of those marked as disposable as epistemological practices? And if so, what kinds of truth claims might these aesthetic forms of knowledge enable in the public sphere?
Featured image credit: Sarah Stefana Smith. “If it were, it might be such a turbulence.” 2017. Digital Archive Print. (sarahstefanasmith.com)