Programme – University of Copenhagen

Racialisation & Ethnification

Politics and Problems in Cultural Representations 

Seminar on 18 March 2015, 13:15 – 18:00 
University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 136, Building 27, Room 27.0.9. 

13:15 Anne Ring Petersen (IKK, KU), Welcome and introduction

Moderator: Anne Ring Petersen
13:30 Mathias Danbolt (IKK, KU), "Sticky Objects, Sticky Histories: Colonial Aesthetics, Stereotypes, and the Trouble of Contextualization"
This paper takes the recent debates about racial stereotypes and colonial aesthetics in Danish domestic commodity culture as a starting point to discuss how different politics of contextualisation and historicisation shape the objects under debate. By bringing Homi Bhabha's seminal discussion of the stereotype in colonial discourse in dialogue with Sara Ahmed's concept of sticky objects, this presentation seeks to discuss how divergent understandings of "context" and "history" inform the public debate.

14:00 Kjetil Rødje (MEF, KU), “Performing Otherness: Pitfalls, Problems, Potentials”
Taking as my starting point Thomas Pynchon’s 1964 short story ”The Secret Integration,” I will focus on the political and aesthetic potentials, as well as pitfalls and problems, associated with racial appropriations by artists and performers identified as ‘white’. Theoretically, the paper will discuss the balancing act identified by two separate ideas in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze: on the one hand, the indignity of speaking for others, and on the other, the various struggles towards becoming-other. At the same time, the paper will address conflicting strategies identified by what I label as respectively the critical and the affirmative pole in current affect theory.

14:30 Asta Smedegaard Nielsen (MEF, KU), ”Racialisation and the Mediated Threat of Terror”
The presentation examines news material on the threat of terror against Denmark, with a particular focus on how bodies are depicted. Departing from Sara Ahmed’s (2004) notion of ‘the spatial politics of fear’, it is argued that the threat of terror works to regulate and organise space along racialised lines in the news.

15:00 Coffee and tea

Moderator: Frauke Wiegand
15:45 Mads Anders Baggesgaard, (Aesthetics and Communication, AU), ”(E)racing difference”
The paper explores the appearance and disappearances of race in the depictions of postcolonial violence in the films by Mahamet Saleh-Haroun, exploring the relationship between nationalism, racialization and conflict in a the cinematic representation of a fragile state.

16:15 Erik Steinskog (IKK, KU), "Towards a racialised future? Afrofuturist speculations"
The term afrofuturism was coined by Mark Dery in 1993 as a term defining “speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of twentieth-century technoculture.” Before this definition, however, Dery asks why there are so few African Americans writing science fiction, a question still crucial for Ytasha Womack, in her 2013 book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-FI and Fantasy Culture. This question is not only related to the writers and readers of sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction, however, but should be extended to also include the content, that is to say, the question about the presence of racialised subjects in the (imagined) futures. Are the future post-racial, in the sense that racialised subjects do not exist? Would this mean that “the race-problem” has been solved? And if so, how? Taking these questions as point of departure, the presentation will via the discourse of afrofuturism discuss racialisation of the future and some possible effects for the present.

16:45 Short break

Moderator: Moritz Schramm
17:00 Roundtable with all speakers