Saturday, May 31, 4:00-5:30
Panel: An Ethnic Avant-Garde?

Moderator: Chris Chen

This panel will investigate the often volatile and contentious relationship between race and the idea of an “avant-garde,” however broadly or narrowly either term is construed. Where does the accent fall when we speak of diasporic, ethnic, cross-ethnic, and/or "white" avant-gardes? Panelists will have the opportunity to explore the contemporary relevance of the distinction, drawn by an earlier generation of critics and poets, between creative projects organized under the sign of “identity” or “difference,” versus a “poetics of indeterminacy” informed by critiques of what Charles Bernstein once dubbed “the official cultural space of diversity.”

Panelists will select several “exhibits”—which might include individual poems, critical essays, interviews, films, visual art, music--which might serve to serve to spark further conversation.

Panelists and Presentations:

Bhanu Kapil lives in Colorado where she teaches in The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Humanimal, a book that takes, as it's subjects, race and the feral body, is forthcoming from Kelsey Street press this Fall.

Juliana Spahr's most recent book is The Transformation (Atelos, 2007).

Tyrone Williams teaches literature and theory at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of two books of poetry, c.c. (Krupskaya Books, 2002) and On Spec (Omnidawn Publishing, 2008). He also has several chapbooks out, including AAB (Slack Buddha Press, 2004), Futures, Elections (Dos Madres Press, 2004)and Musique Noir (Overhere Press, 2006). Recent poems are in or forthcoming from Critiphoria, Laurel Review and The Nation. He is currently writing a book of poems for the innovative writing press, Atelos Books.

PANEL EXHIBITS: (more to come - watch this space)

Bhanu Kapil

Bhugra, Dinesh, and Peter Jones. "Migration and Mental Illness," Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 7 (2001): 216-222.

Juliana Spahr

Laura Doyle, "The Flat, the Round, and Gertrude Stein: Race and the Shape of Modern(ist) History," Modernism/Modernity 7.2 (2000) 249-271.

Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

bell hooks, "Postmodern Blackness," Postmodern Culture, vol. 1, no. 1, Sep. 1990.

Ron Silliman, from “Poetry and the Politics of the Subject,” Socialist Review, 88/3, July-September, 1988, pp. 61-68:

"Progressive poets who identify as members of groups that have been the subject of history – many white male heterosexuals, for example – are apt to challenge all that is supposedly `natural' about the formation of their own subjectivity. That their writing today is apt to call into question, if not actually explode, such conventions as narrative, persona and even reference can hardly be surprising. At the other end of the spectrum are poets who do not identify as members of groups that have been the subject of history, for they instead have been its objects. The narrative of history has led not to their self-actualization, but to their exclusion and domination. These writers and readers – women, people of color, sexual minorities, the entire spectrum of the `marginal' – have a manifest political need to have their stories told. That their writing should often appear much more conventional, with the notable difference as to who is the subject of these conventions, illuminates the relationship between form and audience."

Tyrone Williams:

Adrian Piper

Ernest Withers

Glenn Ligon

Christopher Stackhouse, "Everyone's Own Color Red," The Journal of the Academy of American Poets, Vol. 34, Spring 2008, pp. 25-28.

Chris Chen

Timothy Yu, "Form and Identity in Language Poetry and Asian American Poetry," Contemporary Literature, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 422-461.

Jen Liu, ‘Was It The Gost Of Autumn In That Smell Of Underground, Or God’s Blank Heart Grown Kind, That Sent A Happy Dream To Him In Hell?' 2005 Watercolor, ink and colored pencil on paper, 276×145 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam

Exerpt from an exchange between Walter Benn Michaels ("Plots Against America: Neoliberalism and Antiracism," American Literary History 18.2 (2006) 288-302) and Paul Rothberg ("Against Zero-Sum Logic: A Response to Walter Benn Michaels," American Literary History 18.2 (2006) 303-311)

Julie Mehretu, “Excerpt (Suprematist Evasion),” 2003, ink and acrylic on canvas, 32 x 54”

Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (1973)

No comments: