Lecture: “Ghostly Presences: Caribbean Locale, Contemporary African Atlantic Artists, and the Legacies of Slavery”

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Hosted by the Caribbean Seminar Series of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Alan Rice will present “Accounting for Ghostly Presences: Caribbean Locale, Contemporary African Atlantic Artists and the Legacies of Slavery” on November 11, 2009, at 5:00. The lecture will be held in Room L103, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR(on the corner of Russell Square and Bedford Way).

This lecture will examine a range of contemporary African Atlantic artists whose work re-evaluates the history of slavery through dynamic artistic interventions. It will look at the way Ellen Gallagher, Godfried Donkor, and Lubaina Himid use Caribbean locale or cultural indices to make art that reacts to the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and attempts to account for its horrors. It will show how the artists make imaginative play with African Atlantic survivors of the middle passage, constructing works that answer back to what Lubaina Himid calls the “invisibilizing” of their lives. The works will be interpreted using a wide range of cultural theorists from Stuart Hall and Edouard Glissant to Avery Gordon, Ian Baucom, and Paul Ricoeur. The speaker will address the paradox implicit in the way these dynamic artworks give voice to “unspeakable voices unspoken” in works of beauty that seem to belie their provenance in the maelstrom of the horrific trade.

riceAlan Rice is a Reader in American Cultural Studies in the School of Journalism, Media and Communications at the University of Central Lancashire in England. He is an expert in the field of Black Atlantic Studies. He has published widely in African American Studies and in Ethnic Studies. He is the author of Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic (2003) and is currently completing Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool University Press).

For further queries contact the seminar convenors on kate.quinn@sas.ac.uk or mary.turner@sas.ac.uk

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