Jack Halberstam, professor of gender studies and English at Columbia University, presents a talk as part of the Visual and Media Cultures Colloquia (VMCC). Professor Halberstam's objective is to think with attendees about the politics of violence and the violence of the political—the way that the political becomes a marker not of contestation but of incorporation. It swallows up alternative formulations of speech, resistance, connection and turns everything into money, productivity, profit and branding. From electoral politics to social media, political speech is reduced to bland pronouncements signifying nothing, on the one hand, or else accusations masquerading as something on the other.
Professor Halberstam's work recently has turned to what some people are calling anarchy in order to think not with the propulsive statements that currently constitute rule, but against the forward motion of the political altogether. In order to dream another world, he will propose: we need to dismantle the conditions that make up this one and go back to find hidden futures in the recent past. Those hidden futures, in his work, can be located in the 1970s, in the era just on the cusp of the real-estate capitalism that currently dominates us, in a pre-internet, pre-digital, punk era of reckless abandon, revolutionary fervor, and utopian speculation. These hidden futures appear within science fiction novels from the 1970s, in anarchitectual dreams of unbuilding the world, and in feminist films about revolutionary violence.
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FREE and open to the public
About the Speaker
Jack Halberstam is a professor of gender studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of six books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, most recently, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press). Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including two books on “wildness”: the first, titled WILD THINGS: THE DISORDER OF DESIRE will be released in the fall of 2020. The second, which is in progress, is titled THE WILD BEYOND: ART, ARCHITECTURE AND ANARCHY.
About the Series
The annual Visual and Media Cultures Colloquia (VMCC) at UC Santa Cruz are a collaboration between the graduate programs in Film and Digital Media Department and Visual Studies in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department. The series brings an array of cutting-edge scholars to speak on a broad spectrum of subjects.
image credit: Borden, Lizzie. Born in Flames. Film. 1980.