Center for Performance Studies

Welcome to the Center for Performance Studies!

Exploring Global Encounters through Research, Performance, and Community Building


Decrypting Blackness

 


Decrypting Blackness

 

ABSTRACT: The current surge in afropessimistic and necropolitical theoretical approaches in black studies and critical race theory have mostly not yet deeply considered or engaged the generative critical and aesthetic work on the subject of living with death that was accomplished by the 1980s and 1990s generation of black queer and feminist artists, activists, and intellectuals. This talk seeks to redress this lacuna by recovering the work of a group I term "the necropolitans": I focus here on Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill, Marlon Riggs, and AssoMo Saint. These necropolitans have been re-interpreted in contemporary performance work by Mariana Valencia, Geo Wyeth, and Ni’Ja Whitson. Rather then encrypt blackness in blank obscurity and incommensurable alterity, these works seek to decrypt blackness, working it back into troubled relation with the socio-symbolic order that spurns and distorts it.