CILAVS is delighted to invite you to this in conversation event, in which Leverhulme Visiting Professor Jerome Branche and Professor Marcus Wood will debate ways of creating an alternative, more inclusive colonial archive that incorporates the records and art left by the cultural legacy of slaves (including dance, poetry, artefacts, oral histories, etc).
Location: Room 308, Birkbeck Central, Malet St, London WC1E 7HY
This event is free and open to all. A drinks reception will follow.
Professor of Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Branche is a Leverhulme Visiting Professor in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck in 2022-23.
Marcus Wood is a painter, performance artist and film-maker. In 2003 he became Professor of English and Diaspora Studies at the University of Sussex, and since 2021 he has been Emeritus Professor.
For the last thirty years Marcus has been making art and writing books about different ways in which the traumatic memory of slavery and colonization have been encoded in art and literature. His books include Blind Memory Slavery and Visual Representation in England and America (Manchester University Press and Routledge New York, 2000); High Tar Babies – Race, Hatred, Slavery Love (Clinamen Press, 2001); Slavery, Empathy and Pornography (Oxford University Press, 2003); The Horrible Gift of Freedom Atlantic Slavery and the Representation of Emancipation (University of Georgia Press, 2010) and Black Milk Imagining Slavery in the Visual Cultures of Brazil and America, the first big study of the visual slavery propaganda generated by the two biggest slave cultures in the Atlantic Diaspora (OUP May 2013). Marcus’s latest book The Black Butterfly: Slavery and Memory in Brazilian Literature (University of Virginia Press October 2019) focuses on the slavery writings of three of Brazil’s literary giants—Machado de Assis, Castro Alves, and Euclides da Cunha.
Marcus is also currently working on a big project Exploding Archives: Meditations on Slavery, Brazil, America and the limits of cultural memory. The project will result in a monograph, various performances and installations and a film. This work fuses both the academic work and visual art which Marcus has been producing for over three decades on the subjects of Racism, Atlantic Slavery, and the lying construction of the crime of Slavery by the slave powers. This project is important for the following reasons. Firstly it violently denies the adequacy of the extant archive of slavery, and demands that we address ways of incorporating the records and art left by the cultural legacy of the slaves themselves. Secondly it demands the physical and ideological expansion of the parameters of slavery’s memory into syncretic religions of the Diaspora. Thirdly it exposes the falsity and bad fictions encoded within the extant Colonial archive of slavery. Wood’s new slavery archive warmly embraces pets, cooking, beads, dancing (batucada, jongo, samba, frevo) dolls, dried coprolites, wigs, walking sticks, Frederick Douglass thongs and boxers. This cultural gallimaufry exists outside what might be termed the proper, the paper, or the White Male archive. Exploding Archives is out to celebrate a new inclusive-anarcho-democratic-expanding-slavery-museum.