Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thinking Through Form: Meet the 2013 JWTC Participants

Huey Copeland
Huey Copeland is Associate Professor of Art History with affiliations in the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL, USA). His work focuses on modern and contemporary art with emphases on the articulation of blackness in the American visual field and the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in Western aesthetic practice broadly construed. A regular contributor to Artforum, Copeland has also published in Art Journal, Callaloo, Parkett, Qui Parle, Representations, and Small Axe as well as in numerous edited volumes and international exhibition catalogues, including the award-winning "Modern Women: Women Artists" at the Museum of Modern Art. Most notable among his forthcoming publications is Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America, a book funded by a Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant that will be published by the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2013. 

“The Life of Forms” has been central to my scholarly and pedagogical collaboration with Krista Thompson, Northwestern University Associate Professor of Art History, over the last seven years and to our current project, which centers on what we term the “afrotrope.” This neologism refers to those key visual forms—from the spirit Mami-Wata to the slave ship icon to the “I AM A MAN” poster—that recur within and have become central to the formation of black culture and identity in the modern era. Taking its cues from both Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s theorization of figurative turns and Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the chronotope, our project explores how changes in the materiality of specific afrotropes over time and space speak to the ways that African diasporic history, subjectivity, and modes of resistance are produced and consumed globally through technologies of vision and visual representation.

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