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The Corporeal Division of the World: On Anteaesthetics

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Rizvana Bradley

Veranstaltung des Forschungsfelds "Kulturen des Wissens"

Raum IG 411

This talk, drawn from a chapter of Rizvana Bradley's book, Anteaesthetics, (Stanford University Press, 2023), undertakes an extended investigation into the constitutive imbrications of the racial regime of aesthetics and what Bradley terms “thecorporeal division of the world” in their racially gendered dispensations across artistic forms. Bradley argues that the historical cartography of the modern world and the aesthetic form that is “the body” turn upon a racial division of corporeality, for which blackness is the absent center. This corporeal order at once conscripts and expels the black, who becomes the negative vestibule for the spacetime of the (proper) body and its others. Bradley's talk centers on an iterative reading of Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa (1819) and the oil study referred to as the Montauban study, the Study for the Signaling Black, or African Signaling (1819). Taking up art historian Thomas Crow’s pointed interpretation of Géricault’s work and, in particular, Crow’s analogical turn to the Belvedere Torso (mid-first century BCE), Bradley introduces a theory of the black bodily fragment as a metonymic rend(er)ing of flesh, and suggests that Géricault’s painting and oil study, as well as Crow’s interpretation of them, provide exemplary instances of the black mediality which undergirds the corporeal division of the world and its historical recalibrations in and through the aesthetic. 

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of Film and Media and Affiliated Faculty in the History of Art and the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the 2023–24 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.

Mittwoch, 26.06.2024
Beginn: 18:00
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