Exploring the Intersections between Transcultural, (Post)migrant and Feminist Perspectives on Contemporary Art

Since the 1990s, the globalization of the art world and the field of art history has raised the awareness of the geopolitical landscapes and circuits through which art and other cultural forms travel. This development has been accompanied by a wealth of critical debates on issues such as border-crossing, spaces-in-between, discursive and economic exchange, dominance and subjection, cultural mixing, and the complex entanglements and dependencies resulting from such processes.

Confronted with a new, or transformed, set of issues, scholars in the field have been challenged to introduce new frameworks for the study of art and culture, and to try out new avenues when grappling with the conundrum of combining an interest in a specific – local or national ‒ context with a consideration of its connections with other – translocal, transnational or global – contexts, or vice versa. One way of meeting this challenge has been interdisciplinary bridge-building between art history and anthropology (Bublatzky 2019, Belting 2000). In this regard, the so-called world art studies have been an important forum for reinvigorating the long-standing exchange between artistic practices, art history and anthropology (Marcus and Myers 1996, Foster 1996, Zijlmans and van Damme 2008). Moreover, the wide dissemination of feminist and de-/postcolonial critiques has led to a general acknowledgement of the fact that cultural exchange and circulation never take place in a level playing field in terms of equal opportunities for marginalized and underprivileged individuals and groups. As Monica Juneja (2014) has observed, ‘Contact, interaction and entanglement make the transcultural a field constituted relationally, so that asymmetry, as one attribute of relationships (together with categories such as difference, non-equivalence, dissonance), is an element that makes up this field.’

Some of the most promising answers to these epistemological and methodological challenges have been developed by turning to de-/postcolonial theories, to feminist and queer theories, and, more recently, to theories of transculturality and (post-)migration. The objective of this seminar is to enable a focused discussion of feminist, transcultural and (post-)migrant approaches to contemporary art. The seminar will shed light on the importance of the visual arts to transnational feminist thought and activism, and as well as the critical significance of ‘ec/centric’ and ‘transversal’ feminist politics to the visual arts (Meskimmon 2020, Meskimmon and Rowe 2013). It will also consider transcultural approaches that go beyond the notion of globalisation as flows to focus on the processes through which forms emerge in local contexts often through far-reaching circuits of exchange (Juneja 2019, 2015). Furthermore, it will address the (post-)migratory dynamics of the contemporary artworld that have transform the conditions of creating art and exhibitions and prompted scholars to critically reconsider the meaning of locality, culture and ‘origin’ as key elements in the artistic and exhibitionary politics of representation. Lastly, but importantly, the concluding discussion will provide speakers and audience with an opportunity to discuss the synergies between the three avenues of exploration.

All are welcome. Please sign up for the seminar no later than 1 November 2020. Mail to: skn@hum.ku.dk.