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ARTH 379 Postcolonial Theory in Art History: Ornamentalism: Feminist Theories of the Body

  • Mondays, 2:15 - 5:45pm
  • EV 1.615
  • Instructor: Dr. Balbir K. Singh

This class will provide a feminist of color approach to postcolonial theory within visual and material culture. Specifically, we will begin with scholar Anne Anlin Cheng’s recent book Ornamentalism on Asian femme embodiment to begin our course of study; by understanding Cheng’s analysis as foundational, this class will take up considerations of the body, race, matter, adornment, and technology through colonial, racial, and capitalist relations. Cheng’s work will necessitate readings of postcolonial theorist Edward Said, as well as Black feminist theorist Hortense Spillers. From there, we will build on such foundational work by focusing on a number of different thematic units, including black feminist conceptions of the human; queer and trans of color critique; disability studies; and anti-colonial theoretical engagements of gender and the body. We will combine our readings throughout the term with the study of art, visual culture, and material culture related to our readings and thematic units. It should be noted that familiarity with feminist and/or postcolonial theory will be beneficial to students enrolled in this course.

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